Family Remembers Angler Who Died After Falling Into Pond

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A 62-year-old man died Thursday morning after falling into a pond at Murphy Park in Springdale.

Jasper Zornes was a fixture at the park, where he often fished from his chair he would bring with him.

5NEWS reporter Austin Reed interviewed Zornes’ family members (above video), who have fond memories of the man they are sad to see go.

"He was caring. He was loving. He was funny," said Lisa Byrkett, Zornes' granddaughter. "And I guess he died doing the thing he loved."

Aleehya Cullun is Zornes' niece.

"Whenever he would go fishing with me and my grandpa, it was really fun," Cullun said. "And my grandma would come, and we would just wade in the water, fish and have fun."

Zornes, of Springdale, was unconscious when he was taken out of the water, then was rushed to the hospital, said Springdale Police Capt. Mike Peters. The call to emergency personnel came in at 8:43 a.m., Peters said.

Bystanders were pulling the man out of the water when the Springdale Fire Department arrived at the site, said Battalion Chief Blake Holte.

Zornes was “critically ill” and was taken to Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, Holte said. The hospital is directly across South Thompson Street from the park.

Zornes was in a chair, fishing, when he toppled over face-first into the water, said Chad Wolf, operations manager for the Springdale Parks and Recreation Department. He was coughing up water when people were pulling him out and later died, despite emergency crews responding to the scene. His family said he died of a heart attack.

A blog dedicated to Zornes memory has been set up on fishing enthusiast website good-fish.com. A memorial for Zornes is scheduled for June 12 in Ash Flat, where Zornes was born and raised.