CRYSTAL, Minn. - If there's anyone who knows you as well as your family, it's your fishing buddies.
In Crystal on Saturday, Mark Mayerich and Dave Anderson got together at Mayerich's house to remember their longtime fishing buddy, 58-year-old Ron Edberg of Brooklyn Center.
They stood in Mayerich's garage admiring all the magnetic signs on his fridge that Edberg had designed and printed for them. The signs all say Team Walleye and were placed on their vehicles as they drove to Leech Lake every year for the walleye fishing opener.
Anderson said, "You know, now we don't have our sign maker, our one who used to design all this."
These two members of Team Walleye are finding it tough to say goodbye to their team captain Ron Edberg, who was shot and killed at his workplace, Accent Signage Systems, along with four others on Thursday. The gunman then killed himself.
Accent Signage is where Edberg worked and made the signs for their annual fishing opener trip.
Anderson said, "It's really hard to lose a friend like this. The friendship is just, it's deep. It's very, very deep."
Edberg started Team Walleye with best friend Mayerich and two others in 1974. Now in its 39th year, they've had as many as 25 members and were featured on Minnesota Bound this spring, Edberg serving as the quiet spokesman.
In the Minnesota Bound story, Edberg spoke about the annual trips and said with a smile, "Most of the memories are about odd, funny things that happen, some people that lose a fishing rod or a hat, what have you, or an outboard motor."
He chuckled when mentioning the motor, a chuckle that his friends say often shook his body. That's something they won't forget.
Mayerich imitated that laugh and then said with a smile, "It wasn't a true laugh, it was more, I don't know, what it would be, out of his nose and everything else. It was rather funny, rather funny."
They'll remember Edberg's kindness and his humility too.
Mayerich said, "He never said anything bad about anybody."
He and Edberg were already busy planning for next year.
Edberg did see his son get married in California on September 15th. He also has a daughter.
But now his life has been cut short.
So now Team Walleye will have to celebrate its 40th year, this spring, without Edberg. They're not sure what they'll do.
Anderson said Edberg was, "Always the guy that kept the even keel."
But they'll find some way to remember him and they will cherish the memories that their brother in fishing left behind.
Anderson said, "I had a friend who told me once friends are like stars you often don't see them but you know that they're there."
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