By Al Schwartz * Contributing Reporter
And so life passes with fleeting breath
A sudden gust which ends in death
Bass Lake ice-fishing legend Cornwall “Spud” Buckminster was found frozen to death this afternoon inside a drift at the edge of Bass Lake. He was nearly 55.
Buckminster was last seen Sunday morning at the height of blizzard-like conditions which nearly cost several other people their lives on highways and byways, back roads and thoroughfares crowded with busy Beaverday shoppers on what many have called the second-snowiest day of the new year thus far.
Witnesses report that Buckminster, 54, had taken a position near the beaver lodge at the west edge of Bass Lake during his weekly Sunday ice-fishing excursion. It is presumed his proximity to the lodge was an effort to avoid having to drill through the thicker ice of the lake. According to one witness, Spud fell through the ice and went down cursing.
A search and rescue operation was launched almost immediately. A team of ice-diving experts searched the frigid 32-degree water for nearly 7 minutes before a bystander noticed Spud’s boot sticking out from a nearby drift. He had apparently escaped the 2-foot deep water only to succumb to the arctic temperatures.
“It’s a real damn shame,” said this reporter, who knew Spud with nodding acquaintance. “He will be no longer seen on the lake.”
Buckminster is survived by his five-gallon bucket, Hilda, and several children scattered throughout the community.
“It’s a shame the way it ended,” Bass Lake Police Chief Tug McNabb said. “We really wanted to try out these flamethrowers. I guess we’ll just have to wait.”