ROCK CREEK – Douglas W. Persico, 70, of Rock Creek in Clinton, passed away on Saturday, July 31, 2010, at his home on Rock Creek. Although he was battling cancer, he did not pass away from that disease.
Douglas was born in New York City on July 28, 1940. He moved to La Cañada, Calif., when he was 7 years old. He graduated from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles in 1958. When the New York Giants moved to San Francisco the family moved there, too, as they were avid Giants fans and could not live with the Dodgers. Douglas attended San Francisco State College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history. This is where he met his wife, Carolyn. They were married in February 1963.
In July 1963, his wife introduced him to Jack Horner, who invented the humpy fly for Montana streams. Horner introduced him to fly-fishing, which became his passion. He came to Rock Creek in 1965 for vacation and “drank the water.” He returned every year.
Douglas worked for the Bank of America for 25 years. During this time, he worked on the original credit card, BankAmericaCard in the systems department, and he was involved in the expansion to 16-digit card numbers, along with the numerical digits that identify the banks that cards belong to. After 25 years with the bank, he joined VISA International, where he was in charge of the settlement system. His business took him to London and Washington D.C.
In 1989, the opportunity came to purchase the old bar from Ekstroms on Rock Creek. The deal was sealed with a handshake. At 50 years old, Douglas opened the Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile. Since then, he accumulated many loyal clients and friends, and several of his employees went on to become some of the best guides in western Montana. Doug’s lessons were always free. His philosophy was that teaching people to fly fish was too valuable an experience to charge for. This continues to be the policy of his fly shop.
He is preceded in death by his father Frank Persico and mother Dorothy Dunnion Persico. His survivors include his wife Carolyn Persico of Rock Creek; daughter Susan Silva of Belmont, Calif., daughter Carol Sylvester of Rock Creek; grandchildren Ronald and Michelle Silva of Belmont and grandson John Staats of Rock Creek.
A memorial will be held on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile to celebrate his life and love of both Rock Creek and Montana.