Capt. Ron Santee Jr. passes along the sad news that his father passed away on Jan. 10 at 83. Following is the message he posted on Facebook:
“Fishermen/Captain Ron Sr. Has Passed
It is with a Broken heart I have to let everyone know that my Dad, Capt. Ron Sr. passed away this morning at the age of 83.
I believe it was a combination of a broken heart from my younger sister Rosemary passing 2 days before Christmas and his short battle with Leukemia.
How do I put 61 years of my life & memories to print? I’ve done so many dedications over the years to all the awesome customers that have crossed my path that now I have to honor the Best man I’ve ever known.
My Dad knew from the age of 8 that he wanted to be a Fishermen, while all the other kids back then wanted to be Policemen & Firemen he would tell my Grandma that one day he was going to own a boat. At 19 he bought that first boat, he named it the Fisherboy. It was up the Passaic River and had been in a fire so he got it cheap. After a complete engine job he started sailing from the Sandy Hook Bay marina in Highlands in 1961. Lucky to carry 3 or 4 guys on a good day putting the couple dollars he made into feeding the family. Life was very hard but he persevered finally moving to the Highlands Marina and buying his second boat (an old air sea rescue) that became the first Fishermen.
Dad was the new kid on the block and had to take what was left after all the Older Captains had sailed, he couldn’t sail until 10am back then, but still he persevered once again. All the old newspaper guys like him for his honest reports and everyone always called on Friday to get the weekend report. Business started to pick up but the real money was to be made in Atlantic Highlands. Back then you had to be a resident of the town to be first on the list for a slip so Dad bought a house and moved the family to Atlantic. It took a couple of years but a slip came available, Dad bought the Holiday ( a beautiful Stevenson Built boat) from Jack Endeen out of Pt. Pleasant . Business started to grow and his dreams were coming true.
At 18 I got my ticket, It was one of the best days of his life! learning the ropes since I was 14 Dad let me take my first command at 19 years old. A 42 year partnership was born and we never looked back. In 1985 we fulfilled my fathers dream of building a brand new Fishermen. Lydia yachts got the contract, I’ll never forget the day we backed her into the slip for the first time….He was so Proud, his goal had been reached. But 6 years later we decided to build the Sandy Hook Lady, a paddle wheel River boat. Dad was even prouder wearing those Captains Epilets .
All the lives he touched with his teachings are many over the years. I couldn’t have had a better mentor, a better friend or an even better Dad. I was truly blessed to have him all these years…..It will be very tough moving on without him, he fished 5 days a week even at the end of the season when he could barely make it on and off the boat. He fought so hard and only wanted to fish.”
A memorial will be held Tuesday from 2-6 p.m. Pasten-McKinley Funeral Home, 59 E. Lincoln Ave., Atlantic Highlands.
I’ll have more about this tomorrow.
The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands will conclude their season with a blackfish trip at 7 a.m. Monday.
East winds at just 10-15 knots are forecast for the morning, with seas down to 3-5 feet.