Harold Ensley, who brought the outdoors to life for millions of television viewers through his “Sportsman’s Friend” television show, died Wednesday afternoon at his home after a long battle with heart problems. He was 92.
His passing marked the end of a colorful era in Kansas City. The Overland Park man became a household name here, serving as one of fishing’s most visible ambassadors.
His popular TV show was one of the first nationally to feature fishing, and it lasted 48 years — a testament to its popularity. Even after it went off the air following the 2001 season, Ensley wasn’t forgotten.
People would still line up to greet him and exchange fish stories with him at the Kansas City Sportshow, proof of his long-lasting appeal.
“Harold was like ‘sterling’ stamped on silver,” said Dave Perkins, longtime director of the Sportshow. “He was a legend.
“I’ll tell you this. He will be missed. He was one of a kind.
“There won’t be another one like him.”
A memorial service, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Overland Park Church of Christ, 13400 W. 119th Street.
BECOME A LEVEL 2
I met him a couple of times at the sport show. He was always nice and willing to sign autographs.
He did a promo at Walmart in Leavenworth when I was about your age Sean. He gave me his autograph as well, I was so happy that he did, I bought the fillet knife he was selling. I've moved on to different cutlery but my son uses it now to this day.
That's to bad. I saw him at the Topeka sports show2 years ago and he didn't look well then.
Used to watch his show as a kid, the world stopped moving at Grandpa and Grandma's house when the Sportsman's Freind came on.
How about these......Country Squire, Great Slave Lake and of course The Reeper. Every outdoors shop on TV right now owes a big thank you the Harold.
Just got home from work.610 a.m. was doing a tribute on Brents outdoor show.Had his son Dusty on,up untill a few days ago Harold said he would be on it.What a great life he had-bet he had no regrets.
Gary, thanks for posting the notice, haven't seen it in any local rags yet. I recently read a very good article about his early years in TV, how he did it all, the films, production etc. Very interesting article. Sorry to hear about his passing. I always watched his shows too.
I grew up watching Harold Ensleys "Sportsman Friend" shows. He was the first to bring us all his fishing adventures via TV and promote our Great sport. You will be sorely missed Harold, rest in peace brother.
I grew up watching Harold Ensleys "Sportsman Friend" and Learned more from him and my grandpa when I was a youngen, than I have learned since. Catfished One night with both of them, and a better fishing trip I've never since had. Now both have passed in search of new waters.
The "Sportsman Friend" and my Grand Pa. Rest in peace and you are missed. This life was Good, the next will be better
He is the one who introduced us to modern methods of fishing. I'll always remember his early spring trips to Bull Shoals and his crappie fishing. Most of us had never heard of ultra light fishing until Harold showed it on The Sportsman's Friend. His quail hunting trips were some of the best ever filmed. I hope he's taken that "red country squire" to some heavenly bass or crappie hole and landing one ten pounder after another.
Current Loot Pile
OMOTO 7000 CSM - SILVERCL60X - BOCA POWEREDMC500 MAGNETIC BAITCASTER