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Self-professed hillbilly, champion fisherman

Keen fisherman: Crayton Greene, standing, at the 2007 Mid-Ocean News Wahoo Tournament, with friends Neil Jones, Brian Lines and Daniel Lee (File photograph)

Crayton Greene, a champion fisherman whose camera business stood as a landmark for local photographers, has died at the age of 88.

Originally from Boone County, West Virginia, Mr Greene was a self-professed “hillbilly” whose angling career started modestly with catfish in local streams. He arrived on the island in 1950, Mr Greene divided his life here between business and fishing, becoming a frequent and prize-winning tournament angler.

The Camera Store closed shop in 1994 after roughly 60 years of trade ­— 40 of them with Mr Greene.

He went on to serve on the board of a number of companies, most prominently KFC Bermuda.

The Queen Street business was not just a top establishment for photographers, but a nurturing ground for talent — in particular, Richard “Dick” Saunders, a Bermudian photojournalist who enjoyed international acclaim.

Racial segregation of the day meant that Mr Saunders was frozen out of Bermuda’s photography business, but his subsequent hiring at the business proved “decisive” for his career, The Royal Gazette reported in 1993.

Mr Greene described Mr Saunders’s life and subsequent career as “a triumph of will”.

Mr Greene joined the International Light Tackle Tournament in 1967 and stuck with it over the next 20 years, scoring record catches in 1982 and 1988.

“It was a very, very prestigious tournament to be able to fish,” he told The Bermudian in 2016.

“We carried a pretty darn good reputation and it was revered for its quality, style, hospitality and comradeship. People had a lot in common together.”

A close friend of fishing legend Peter Perinchief, Mr Greene expressed pride in the flourishing of local tournaments.

He was also an accomplished angler in overseas contests, such as the Florida International Light Tackle Tournament.

His catches made headlines even at the age of 77. Mr Greene took the High Point Angler award at the Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament in June 2007, and scored prominently in the Mid-Ocean wahoo tournament three months later in the 16lb test category.

Mr Greene leaves behind his two daughters Lynn Spencer and Michelle Greene. Funeral notices are pending.