Hello my name is
John Czemiakowski and have been
a proud member of the PTA since the beginning
in 1979. My wife Patti and I have two children and three
grandchildren. My grandson Nathan is six years old
and has developed quite an interest in fishing. We fish
as much as we can and I always look forward to our
fishing trips. His younger sister Veronica enjoys fishing
too and we have quite a time of keeping our lines in the
water at the same time while Catherine looks on from
the baby stroller.
I have always enjoyed turkey hunting especially in
the spring and usually hunt in several states each year.
I was fortunate to harvest my first Pennsylvania black
bear in 2005 that weighed 550 pounds and scored 21
9/16″ which ranked it 72 in the Pa record book. Patti
and I have a hunting camp in Centre County where I
recently built my new shop near Potters Mills. We really
enjoy spending time at camp where I do my taxidermy
work.
My early taxidermy experience began with the
Northwestern School of Taxidermy Course in 1968.
There was not much information available to learn
taxidermy years ago, however, one point I never forgot
from the course was to “always finish the mount before
moving on to other things”. Taxidermy supplies were
very limited in selection and quality with sometimes
long wait times for supplies to arrive. There was a
tendency not to change or alter any of the forms as
they were viewed as accurate since they were
purchased from a “taxidermy supplier”.
I served a taxidermy apprenticeship through my
high school years with Tom Harrington who
operated a part time shop in
Jamison, Pa. who really
helped me in the early years
improve my taxidermy skills.
Tom was patient with me and
always encouraged me to do
my best in all the mounts. I
will never forget all the wild
pheasants we mounted
back in those days. It
seemed like we mounted
pheasants for months! Tom
came with me when I
successfully passed the
PGC taxidermy exam in 1976 after I moved to Mifflin
County and will always be grateful to him for his interest
in me.
I have operated Seven Mountains Taxidermy Studio
since 1976 during my teaching and school administrator
career in Lewistown. I have become a full time
taxidermist since 2009 when I retired from the Mifflin
County School District. Over the years I have served the
PTA as secretary, treasurer and board member and I
have felt honored to have received the PTA service
award on two occasions.
Despite a very busy career in public school education
along with raising a family and getting customer work
completed I was able to earn a masters title in turkeys
and blue ribbons in upland game birds and small
mammals. I hope to compete in more taxidermy
competitions in the future. I also served on the PGC
Taxidermy Exam Board along with some very talented
and accomplished taxidermists from the PTA. I always
enjoyed spending time with our fellow taxidermists while
helping those taking the exam improve their skills.
I have attended nearly all the PTA conventions since
1979 and what I still value most are the friendships and
relationships that have formed with the fine people I
have met through the years. I have seen many people
cycle through our organization and sometimes wonder if
they are still involved in taxidermy. I wish them all well
and the very best. Our state organization represents
some of the finest and talented taxidermists in the
country. Our future is bright as an organization. Those
becoming interested in taxidermy now have a
wonderful opportunity to become
part of an exciting future.
I would like to thank the PTA
for its leadership in the industry
by creating a learning
environment where everyone
involved has an opportunity to
reach their full potential as a
taxidermist. The PTA has meant
a lot to me and hope I am able
to continue to help and support
our great organization for many
years to come.
Best wishes,
John Czerniakowski