|Services Saturday for "El Grande Borracho"
and former owner of Burch Ford and longtime supporter of WON events and
schools, suffers massive heart attack; his friends remember him for his many
Baja trips and his club’s motto, “Fish, Party, Puke.” Services are this Saturday at 2 p.m. in La Habra
The Baja fishing trips
Marty Burch and his merry band of friends and family took several times a year
were not always about drinking. It just seemed that way. It was always
about fishing and friendship. His family and friends mourned the loss of
Burch last week, who died at age
62 after a massive heart attack as he left Fairway Ford in Placentia on Monday
evening, Jan. 14 after visiting
his good friend Dick Landfield and others at the dealership.
He was discovered in the
parking lot, and was taken to the hospital, where he was kept on a ventilator
until late Tuesday. With no hope
of recovery her was taken off life support and passed soon after. It was a
double slam for family and
friends. His wife Nita, had passed away two weeks earlier after a long illness.
He is survived by his mother, Margaret, a sister Cathy, and four children,
Eileen and Francine from Nita’s first marriage, and his two sons, John and
Burch was the owner of
Burch Ford in La Habra that closed four years ago in throes of the recession.
When the dealership was thriving, he was a longtime supporter and sponsor of WON events, schools and
tournaments directed by Kit McNear. As might be expected, McNear and his
friends had some great stories.
The first one is shared
by Don Southard, who started fishing with Burch in the 1970s, locally and then
on annual trips to the East Cape. Southard, now retired, was also
the Burch Ford Fleet Manager for many years and Burch’s longtime fishing,
drinking and smoking buddy. They were joined at the hip for decades. Southard
said he has been asked to say a few words at the service by the family.
“I can’t tell 80 percent
of the stories of things we did, from way back in the 70s to now, because they
wouldn’t be appropriate for a eulogy, but boy did we have fun, and I will be
thinking of Marty every time I go fishing,” said Southard. He recalled how
their loosely knit club of Team Borracho fishermen was formed. He is not
sure what came first, the club, the name or motto. Despite heavy drinking that
one day in a cab when the idea was formed, the mission soon became clear
as silver Patron in a shot glass.
“We were traveling on a
shuttle to Hotel Palmas De Cortez,” said Southard. “It was a group of us,
and we went there every year to fish. One of our guys, Dick Harris, was pretty
looped and the taxi driver turned back to us and said, ‘Su amigo es muy
I know enough Spanish to know what he said, and I looked at Marty and
told him, ‘That sounds like a pretty good name for our club.’”
He added, “When we got
home from the trip, we went to Marty’s house and played with it on the computer
and came up with the logo and the motto in it, “Fish, Party and Puke.” A
website, newsletters, trips, local saltwater charters, tournaments,
sponsorships all followed, not to mention more excuses to go fishing -- and
Kit McNear, longtime WON schools director and
tournament director who now works with the Van Wormer Resorts in marketing and
directing fishing events, said outrageous behavior and all in good fun was
Burch’s trademark as the Team Borracho ringleader.
“Marty Burch was a
very special and generous person who reached out to many people over the
years. He will be missed by his many friends. I met Marty in 1995 at the
first WON/AeroCal. Yellowtail Shoot Out in La Paz based at the Hotel Marina
along with about 17 other Team Borracho members,” said McNear on Thursday after
hearing of his friend’s abrupt passing. “This was a serious group of anglers
who loved Baja, with several being excellent anglers, including Marty.
“The club had about 50
members then and was based at Marty’s Ford dealership in La Habra with the
motto of Fish, Party and Puke! They certainly lived up to it. Marty really
enjoyed going to Baja, especially La Paz and the East Cape, and also Waterfall
Resort in Alaska. It was where he could really get away from his businesses and
party with his good friends.”
McNear said remembers
easily the number of times after partying all night that he and several Borrachos
would always answer the bell and meet him at the dock and board the
pangas. They really could party hard! But they fished hard, too.”
It was in 1996 that
Burch Ford become a WON fishing school and event sponsor, and Marty was present at
just about every WON saltwater event for many years, said McNear.
“He really liked to see
other anglers have fun, and along with his team Borracho members gave
away many things over the years, including free shots of tequila at the
Ensenada. He was a good sport, too. At one tourney, a cat in a palapa in
La Paz was above him and peed on his head, and after realizing it, he just
wiped his hair off and he stayed there with his friends, drinking.”
The next night, Burch
was given a plastic cat and the Golden Pisser award at the awards ceremony. He
laughed harder than anyone.
McNear said that while
he was an excellent fisherman, and liked to compete, but didn’t let the little
details and ego stop him from having a good time.
“At a Yellowtail Shoot
Out in La Paz, he came to the weigh-in area and told me that he had
the winning fish. I said ‘Great!’ and told him to have his guide Lamberto bring
it up to the scale area. Well, it was a 60-pound amberjack. When I told
him it wasn’t a yellowtail and it didn’t count, he simply said, “What the
hell! This calls for a cocktail!”
Finally, Burch was
generous. In the usual -- and unique -- ways. McNear’s wife Sue
remembered the time at Palmas de Cortez about five years ago during one of the
first Dorado Shootouts that Marty and Don had a hose at the top floor condo.
“They would pour tequila down the hose to passing anglers," she said.”
As Southard would say
simply a few days after his good friend’s passing, “He was a good guy and he’s
going to be missed by many.”
family will gather this Saturday, the 26th, in La Habra at 2 p.m. at the Garden Room, 801 N. Beach Blvd.,
La Habra. There is no need for an
RSVP. It is open to anyone who knew Marty, said Southard.
KIT McNEAR, middle, and Marty Burch, left at a WON Fishing Schools event
at the Burch Ford Dealership. The
other man at right was not identified.
FISH, PARTY, PUKE was the motto of Team Borracho members. The
club had several hundred members in its heyday.