Navy vet a Lake Erie fishing issues expert


Editor's Note: This article correctly states Mr. Metcalf earned a master's degree in fisheries biology and was part owner/manager of the Port Clinton Fish Co.'s business on Broadway in South Toledo


EDGERTON, Ohio — Michael T. Metcalf, an outdoorsman who worked in the fishing industry and later joined his wife operating a gift-wrap business she founded in their home in Edgerton, died June 21 at the University of Michigan Health Systems in Ann Arbor.

He was 64 and suffered from prostrate cancer, his wife, Beth, said.

Mr. Metcalf, who studied marine biology, was called on to give lectures and testify at trials on Lake Erie fishing issues in the 1980s, when he was vice president of the Ohio Fish Producers Association, she said.

Born in Mansfield on Sept. 8, 1948, to Richard and Thelma Metcalf, he graduated from Clear Fork High School and Ashland University and received a master’s degree in fisheries biology from Ohio State University.

He served in the Navy from 1970 to 1975.

He had a lifelong interest in fishing and the outdoors.

“His mother told me that she was surprised that he wasn’t born with fish scales on him,” said his wife, who shared his interest in fishing.

“We went fishing all summer long ... and ice fishing too, without a shanty,” she added.

After graduation from Ohio State, he worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a short period, but left because he didn’t like what he saw as its “old boy” network, his wife said.

While working with the state, he published a research paper through the Ohio Sea Grant program in 1978. The paper was based on his research on Lake Erie freshwater drum and its mortality rates following shipping.

His wife, 15 years his junior, said she met her husband-to-be when he was part owner/manager at the Port Clinton Fish Co.’s business on Broadway in South Toledo. She lived next door.

“He was always so young in appearance and in spirit,” she said. “He was always, always, always like a 20-year-old. He was like that his entire life.”

The two married in 1991.

He managed the Port Clinton Fish Co.’s Toledo operation and helped start its offshoot at Portside Festival Marketplace. That shop soon closed.

When the company closed its Broadway outlet in the 1980s, he went to work in Port Clinton where he handled sales, but left after the company downsized.

“He always did sales. He would mesmerize people, because he was so knowledgeable about so many different things,” his wife said.

He took a job with the former Morey’s Seafood in Detroit, but lost the position about 2004 when the company eliminated his sales territory, his wife said.

During that time Mrs. Metcalf had started Pillow Wrap, making personalized pillowcases used to wrap gifts, thus eliminating the waste and pollution associated with gift paper, she said.

The couple focused on area craft shows and gift markets, but after Mr. Metcalf lost his last job, the couple “went full tilt” in the gift-wrap business, operating out of their home in Edgerton, with Mr. Metcalf handling sales.

The business grew and the couple recently expanded into a separate building, Beth said.

The couple, who lived on six acres, also started organic gardening in keeping with their interest in eating healthy.

Surviving are his wife, Beth; sons, Todd and Darrell; brother Patrick, and two grandchildren.

A private memorial service is planned.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.