Stew Sill Jr. as I remember it… part VII by Bill VanGee

The Final Chapter?

When Deb first asked me to come up with a series of Stew Sill remembrance articles for the Katlynn Marine newsletter, I wasn’t sure that I had enough “BS” to complete even one story. For those of you that actually read the newsletters, you can see that I in fact did find a couple of stories stored away in my gray matter. From e-mails and conversations with customers seem to have hit a cord with many of you that knew Stew or at least the legend that was Stew. Everyone has been more than gracious with their comments and I thank you for that. As with every good story, I’m afraid this one too has run its course and this will be my last installment. While there are volumes of untold stories, you must understand that you’re dealing with someone who usually can’t remember what he had for breakfast and its only 9 AM. The problem that I really have is being able to put all these little tidbits together in a manner that makes sense to the reader. It’s a kinda “you had to be there” moment. There are little flashes like his favorite saying “if it ain’t red, it ain’t right” and he meant it. Everything he owned from his sail boat, to his ice boat, to his snow mobile to his ski jacket was red. I remember one season when his pick-up truck was giving him some issues and he decided that it was time for a new one. A normal person would go to a truck dealer and sit in one, test drive one or at least kick the tires. Not Stew, he picked up the phone and called the local car dealership’s sales department and asked what they had in red trucks and to send one down to the marina. I don’t think there was even a discussion as to price, it just needed to be red. To this day, people still tell the stories of a 20 something Stew Sill racing across the lawns of Greig street flood victims in his hydroplane race boat or the story of the county police department chasing him around town on his overpowered, mufflerless go-cart. Most of these stories are a little before my time, but the legend seems to live on.

But for all the stories of a devil-may-care local kid, it should always be remembered that Stew was a dedicated Sodus Pointer. He grew up and lived in the village his entire 77 years. He was always a part of the community and was a life time member of the local volunteer fire department. When the fire siren sounded, you didn’t want to be standing in his way. Heck, he even marched in a few Memorial Day parades.

It’s been fun reminiscing these last couple of months. I began working for Stew while I was still in college and stayed with him, except for a brief teaching career, for nearly 20 years. He was my boss, my mentor, and most importantly, my friend. I miss him.

Bill VanGee

In the future, I will resurrect my Shop Talk series of new letter articles. For those of you that have never read any of them, they are merely short articles pertaining to almost anything boat, but primarily repair and upkeep slanted. If there is some subject that you’d like more information about, please send me an e-mail at and I’ll try my best to provide a little insight in these new articles.