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John Voelker lived his life as most of us wish we could -- on his own terms.  He was a renowned novelist and outdoor writer, an eminent member of the bench and bar, and a skilled fly fisherman.  Author of 11 books (and a 12th posthumous book, Traver on Fishing) and numerous stories, including Anatomy of a Murder, a Michigan Supreme Court Justice who wrote over 100 finely crafted opinions, and self‑proclaimed "U.P. Cribbage Champ," John Voelker made many contributions that live on today.  The Foundation's mission is to pay tribute to John Voelker, the ideals for which he stood, and the values that his life and writings exemplified.  Our three principal initiatives include:

The Native American Scholarship Program:  John declared that the first thing we should do is establish a Native American Scholarship.  Why?  "Let 'em read my book!," he proclaimed, pointing to Laughing Whitefish.  That historical novel describes a Chippewa woman's 19th century fight for justice -- all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.  So, we republished Laughing Whitefish in a limited edition of 300, each of which John signed. Foundation Members who subscribed to this and the other limited editions have helped Native American scholars to achieve the dream of a legal education with annual grants in the amount of $4,000.00, usually matched by the scholar's tribe under an agreement between the Foundation and the Inter-Tribal Council.

The Robert Traver Fly Fishing Fiction Award:  The Robert Traver Fly Fishing Fiction Award was first presented in 1994.  Writers from around the globe compete, and the winning submission is published in Fly Rod and Reel.  With help from the Frey Foundation, a fund has been established for an annual award.  So far 7 awards have been made, currently in the amount of $2,500.00, to authors who have gone on to distinguish themselves in this field.  Our late Board member, Charles Kuralt, described this as the most prestigious outdoor writing award in the nation. 

The Trout Habitat Program:  Currently, the Foundation is working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the City of Ishpeming to establish a new trout habitat in John's honor.  When the habitat is established, the Foundation will sponsor a youth fly fishing instruction and competition  to encourage a love of the sport and “the environs where trout are found.”

Please consider a tax‑deductible subscription to our limited, signed editions of John's Laughing Whitefish, Trout Madness, or the extraordinarily beautiful limited edition of John's “12th book,” Traver on Fishing, of which only a few remain. 

As a non‑profit, tax‑exempt 501(c)(3) Foundation, we encourage you to become an active Member who:

  • Adds these unique John Voelker/Robert Traver books to your collection

  • Uses your vision and creativity to assist the Foundation in its work

  • Writes for, reads, and circulates our Tin Cup Times newsletter


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