Remembering a great marksman

Sequim Gazette

Charles “Chuck” Dryke, a lifelong Sequim resident and teacher of champion marksmen, died Feb. 9 at the age of 85.


Dryke’s health declined after he was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disorder myasthenia gravis last year, said Darlene Marmol, a friend and student of Dryke.


Remembered for his patience and skill, Dryke built, owned and had operated the Sunnydell Shooting Range on Dryke Road since 1945. Though he started as a trainer of hunting dogs, soon the hunters themselves wanted him to train them to shoot better, Marmol said.


“Generations returned to him to have him teach their children and grandchildren to shoot and use the eye training,” she said.


Born in Sequim on Oct. 21, 1926, Dryke attended Sequim schools and served in the U.S. Army before working many years for the City of Port Angeles. He married the late Jean Lansing in November 1947. Dryke left his job with the city to devote more time to the shooting range and his teaching.


Dryke coined the mantra “quiet mind, hungry eyes,” which emphasized the role of the eyes in shooting.

He taught people how to track with their eyes, how to really focus on their target and how to use their eye muscles, she said.

His approach as a teacher was to teach to a person’s strengths, which he quickly identified, she said.


“He had the ability to look at an individual and pull out the best in them,” she said, adding his focused attention made each student feel like the only person in the world.


Dryke’s students include his son, Matthew Dryke, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1984 for skeet shooting and several world championships. Marmol said Matthew and Ellen Dryke were the only brother-sister shooting team of their time.


Ellen Dryke said her father had more patience than anyone she knew and always made time for his children.


“His passion was nothing but helping people and instructing them in shooting and a lot of different sports,” she said, calling him “an exceptional teacher.”


A celebration of Dryke’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 19, at Sunnydell Shooting Grounds, 292 Dryke Road.
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