Archive for » June 28th, 2013«

Scaled-back Connecticut boat taxes take effect

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Boat sellers and their customers are getting a break as Connecticut scales back taxes on boat sales that produced little revenue, but lots of complaints from the industry.

Beginning Monday, boats docked in Connecticut for 60 days or less will be exempt from the sales and use tax and a 7 percent luxury tax will be reduced to 6.35 percent, the rate of the state’s sales tax, on boats costing more than $100,000.

“It has a huge effect,” Dave Pugsley, vice president and general manager at Brewer Yacht Sales, said of the tax. “We’re a small industry, but we’ve been around forever and employ a lot of people.”

The recession and weak recovery hurt boat sales and high taxes “would drive people out of the market,” he said.

Rep. Patricia Widlitz, the House chairwoman of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said lawmakers two years ago set a 7 percent luxury tax on boats selling for more than $100,000. Boat sellers were telling state officials that in response, buyers were avoiding the tax by negotiating the price to below the $100,000 threshold and bypassing Connecticut for Rhode Island, which does not impose a sales tax on most boats.

Making matters worse for the state, the tax generated only $70,000 in revenue, she said. Widlitz, a Democrat whose district includes the Long Island Sound towns of Branford and Guilford, said she received complaints from boat yards about the tax.

“We were losing business up and down the shoreline,” she said. “It was just as easy to go to Rhode Island.”

As Connecticut aggressively competes for business with loans, grants and other economic development programs, the boat taxes were making the state “completely uncompetitive,” Widlitz said.

The luxury tax still applies to jewelry of more than $5,000, clothing sold for more than $1,000 and luxury cars of more than $50,000, Widlitz said.

Pugsley said the state should anticipate that increased sales due to the tax cut will yield more revenue. Florida capped taxes last year, and he said it helped restore business in the state.

“It’s a perfect example of how less taxes creates more revenue,” he said.

Employment in Connecticut’s boating industry dropped from 12,000 before the recession to 4,500 this year.

Pugsley said business, particularly in the sale of “brokerage boats,” or used boats, has improved as the economic recovery picks up. New boat sales have not rebounded, he said.

“It’s still a difficult business right now,” he said.

Brewer’s operates 14 offices between New York City and Portland, Maine.

Lauren Dunn, spokeswoman at the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said the industry saw the tax cuts in Connecticut as a “major win.”

“While the percent lowered doesn’t look to be that large, it just brings down another barrier to folks having access to boats,” she said.

Retail sales for new power and sail boats were up 10.7 percent in 2012, she said.

Boat owners are not rich, she said. Three-fourths of the estimated 17 million boat owners in the United States have household incomes of less than $100,000, keeping them in middle class or upper middle class.

And Widlitz said the tax cuts were not intended to help millionaires.

“We’re not giving a break to yacht owners,” she said. “This is economic development.”


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Sailing the ocean blue

DC graduate lives life at sea while embarking on a 35,000-mile voyage around the world

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

Few people can imagine giving up their careers, home, and earthly goods for a more simplistic lifestyle aboard a 35-foot sailboat, much less spending four years sailing around the world.

“There were a lot of people who said, or thought, we couldn’t do that,” said Kelly (Faust) Waterhouse, a 1988 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate, of her and her husband’s adventurous undertaking.

Having grown up in Dassel, Waterhouse graduated college and relocated to Seattle, WA, where she met her husband, also named Kelly (which is why she goes by Kelly Girl).

As their last name implies, the couple was destined to experience living life at sea in a “waterhouse.” Sailing was something her husband grew up doing, and he helped teach her the ropes later on.

In her recent book, “Sailing the Waterhouse: Swapping Turf for Surf,” Kelly Girl provides a glimpse into what went into giving up their urban life for the marine life.

“My husband and I started to seriously question what we were working for. Looking at our car payment, cable package, high mortgage, new clothes, and a lifestyle that focused on the material goods we acquired,” Waterhouse wrote.

“We wanted something more, like a real challenge and yet, it was more than having a challenge,” she continued. “It was also understanding our mortality because our life experiences taught us how fragile humanity really is. We have no guarantee of walking this earth tomorrow.”

She and her husband soon became accustomed to a much more simplistic lifestyle.

Two years before they set sail, they sold their home and its contents to live on their sailboat, Moorea, named after a French Polynesian island (it was a French-built boat, after all). They became “live-aboards” at a marina in Everett, 30 miles north of Seattle. This would allow them time to save money for their journey.

In 2005, the couple set sail. They made their way, navigating the West Coast, which they found would live up to the name “The Graveyard of the Pacific,” by the seafaring community.

Fog can be one of the worst conditions for sailors to pass through, and Waterhouse described a scary moment on the first leg of the trip in her book.

The West Coast, however, would be the worst weather they would have to endure in their four years of circumnavigation.

While weather played a big part, it was also important to know their own boat and how to work together as a team, Waterhouse noted.

A stop in California allowed them to outfit Moorea with solar panels and other equipment. “You’re never not working on the boat,” she said, adding that her husband’s mechanical skills came in handy.

Because the couple opted out of buying an expensive watermaker (turning seawater into drinking water), they would have to seek water when and wherever they docked. This was not the easiest task, Waterhouse said, explaining they would have to work with the locals to find the nearest water supply.

“[Water] is something we take for granted in our country,” she commented.

From California, the couple sailed to Mexico, where they spent some leisure time waiting out the cyclone season for six months.

“You have to leave at certain times of the year to get good weather,” she noted.

Eventually, there was a “weather window” and the couple crossed the South Pacific, making stops on the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. For Kelly Girl, Vanuatu was the most exotic and unique place the couple visited, with much of its population still living in tribal communities.

She really enjoyed mixing in with other cultures. “Every experience is different in every country,” she commented.

“Growing up in Dassel-Cokato I never though I’d have this lifestyle,” Waterhouse said, adding that she really enjoys the freedom that comes with sailing and being able to do things on your own time.

“There’s something really neat about that type of travel,” Waterhouse said, adding that it’s also important to stay in tune with the weather and become self-reliant.

Though the West Coast’s weather conditions were the worst they endured, Waterhouse told of another scary moment while sailing along the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

The couple had been sailing close to shore, heading toward the marina, when a squall (sudden sharp wind) came through along with a brief downpour of rain, forcing the boat to tip to its side. The rocky jagged land was quickly creeping up on them. Luckily they were able to reduce the sail and alleviate any danger of striking land.

As far as dangers outside of Mother Nature, Waterhouse said there really wasn’t any, not even pirating.

This was due, in large part, to the “cruiser network,” the other sailers they would talk with on shore. “It’s like a small town,” she said.

The network shares information, such as places to avoid.

“We did not lock our boat at night . . . only one or two places,” Waterhouse commented.

Being closed in, they would likely suffocate in the boat from the tropical heat, and besides, they felt really safe in most cases, she commented.

Also, while sailing at night, the couple would take turns on deck – three hours of sleep in between shifts, to keep a lookout.

The total voyage took four years and included 35,000 nautical miles, with visits to more than 30 countries.

Near the trip’s completion, Waterhouse’s father and stepmother, Dan and Sheryl Faust of Dassel, flew to meet them in Panama, where they took a two-day journey through the Panama Canal.

Faust said he was relieved when she safely returned from the voyage.

Though he was surprised to hear of their nautical intentions, Faust said, “My first reaction was, ‘You’re going to do what? How’s that going to work?’” – he was able to ease fears by being able to follow their movements online through GPS. “That was fun for us to do,” he commented. He also knew how mechanical his son-in-law was and that his daughter was in good hands.

Out of this experience, Waterhouse said she feels fortunate for everything she has, particularly being an independent woman growing up in the US. She noted that women in other countries don’t have the opportunities that are available here.

“We are blessed with so much wealth compared to what is beyond our borders,” she said.

It was also a very peaceful journey, giving her plenty of time to reflect without everyday distractions like TV and the media. “We had a lot of time to think and be human,” she commented.

Upon their return in 2009, the couple sold Moorea so that they could have money to live on land, even though they have downsized their lives considerably.

Since then, they have also purchased a larger boat (42 feet long) named Trini, after her husband’s late mother, in hopes of setting sail on a similar journey in the near future. This one will also be faster since Moorea would only go about 5 knots, or just over 5 miles per hour.

“Life really does slow down when you’re on a sailboat,” she said. Trini has two masts where Moorea only had one. “Both are good boats, but we can see retiring on Trini since she has a few more creature comforts,” she said, including a larger state room, galley, and room for a watermaker.

The couple currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, but they are ready to trade the desert for the water.

“It’s so cool,” she said of sailing the world. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but we’re hoping to make it a second-in-a-lifetime thing.”

For more on their adventure, visit their website, www.SailingtheWaterhouse.com.

‘Sailing the Waterhouse: Swapping Turf for Surf’

To read more about Kelly Girl Waterhouse’s sailing adventure, her book “Sailing the Waterhouse: Swapping Turf for Surf” is available at The Grounds on the Green in Cokato, Latté Da in Dassel, or Amazon, for $9.95.

Waterhouse is working on a sequel to the book, set to publish in the fall, chronicling more of their experiences at sea and the 30-plus countries they visited.


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Kids learning ins and outs of sailing

CANYON LAKE SAILING

CANYON LAKE SAILING

Brandon Cassard participates during the Canyon Lake Yacht Club youth sailing summer camp on Wednesday.

CANYON LAKE SAILING

CANYON LAKE SAILING

Kate Gomes, youth director at Lake Canyon Yacht Club, helps Naomi Chalk assemble her sail Wednesday during the youth sailing summer camp.

CANYON LAKE SAILING

CANYON LAKE SAILING

Eli Spurlock during a race Wednesday at Lake Canyon Yacht Club youth sailing summer camp.




Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:39 pm
|


Updated: 11:48 pm, Thu Jun 27, 2013.


Kids learning ins and outs of sailing

By Jordan Gass-Poore’
New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung

Herald-Zeitung

|
0 comments

With 15-mile-an-hour winds, the morning spent on small, personal size boats was made more challenging for the seven advanced sailors during this week’s summer youth sailing camp at Lake Canyon Yacht Club on the north shore of Canyon Lake.


Naomi Chalk, Texas Military Institute senior, moved the boat around a circular buoy trying her best not to capsize or hit another watercraft.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:39 pm.

Updated: 11:48 pm.


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Boating industry, hit hard during recession, starts to turn around in …



Photos: Hallett Boats in Irwindale | Teague Custom Marine in Valencia


Southland boaters are gearing up for the summer season, and in California that’s big business.

With weekend temperatures expected to hit 100 degrees or higher in most inland regions, many boaters will be scrambling to escape the heat and get out on the water — any water.

A new report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association reveals that recreational boating generates a total economic impact of $8.94 billion a year for California. In a state known for its great weather, easy coastal access and inland lakes and waterways, California has a year-round industry that supports 3,062 boating-related businesses and employs 71,748 people.

And that’s just a slice of the action.

Nationwide, recreational boating generates $121.5 billion a year and supports nearly 964,000 jobs and 34,833 businesses, according to the report. The numbers are impressive. But association President Thom Dammrich said California’s boating industry is still feeling the aftereffects of the Great Recession.

“For years California was No. 1 for registered boaters and boating

expenditures, which includes sales of new boats and power accessories, but it has dropped to No. 11,” he said. “We’re starting to see a turnaround around in California, but it has lagged the rest of the country. That has largely to do with the housing market.”

The housing meltdown took a heavy toll in California, particularly in the Inland Empire where homes are less expensive and more construction was underway. But recent figures reveal a sharp uptick in prices. The state’s median home price rose nearly 32 percent last month to $417,350 compared with $316,460 a year earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors.

And the National Marine Manufacturers Association notes that California still ranks second in annual recreational boat expenditures and trip spending, and in total economic impact generated by recreational boating. The top slot belongs to Florida, where the industry generates $10.4 billion a year.

But tough times or not, die-hard boaters are determined to get out on the water, according to Dammrich.

“There is this large, installed base of active boaters who already have boats and do a lot of spending,” he said. “Boating is a discretionary thing,

so people don’t have to spend their money that way. But it’s also a lifestyle. There are lots of people out there who own boats and might not buy new boats as soon as they would have … but they are not giving up their boats.”

Dyanna Smith isn’t giving up hers. The 62-year-old Norco resident said she’s been around boats for as long as she can remember.

“I started working in commercial fishing in Bodega Bay when I was 19 or 20, and back then I was one of just a few women who were doing it,” she said. “I’ve also been diving since 1996, so I’ve had boats most all of the time.”

Smith and her husband, David, recently bought a 26-foot Cutwater boat from Long Beach Yacht Sales. The $139,000 craft is a vast improvement over their last boat, which gobbled up gas at a frantic pace.

“The old boat had a 130-gallon gas tank and would only take premium gas,” she said. “So when gas was over $5 a gallon … we really had to plan our trips. But the new boat has an 80-gallon tank and gets more than double the gas mileage.”

Many people can’t afford new boats, so sales of used ones have risen dramatically, according to Nick Barron, owner of Hallett Boats in Irwindale. Hallett makes a variety of custom-built watercraft.

“We’re selling a lot of used boats because they are going for about half of what people paid for them,” he said. “We’ve lost a number of boat manufacturers, and many of the ones we haven’t lost are in bankruptcy or Chapter 11. We’re just faced with real tough times. The banks won’t even finance a boat for someone if they’ve been late on a couple of house payments.”

Barron, who founded his company in 1957, said he’s weathered lots of ups and downs over the years.

“In the good old days I used to build about 500 boats a year — but not anymore,” he said. “We’re building a lot of bigger 40-footers now, so you obviously can’t build as many of those as the 20-footers, which was mainly what we built in the old days. But now we’re lucky if we build 30 to 36 boats a year.”

Hallett’s website showcases everything from a 210 S Closed Bow speedboat priced at $61,900, to a larger 33-foot-6-inch powerboat, which is selling for $182,900.

Teague Custom Marine Inc. in Santa Clarita has also noted an industry downturn although its global customer base has kept the company busy and in the black. Teague sells a variety of boating products, ranging from engines, propellers and exhaust systems to filters, mounts and flywheels. Owner Bob Teague said his biggest challenge is trying to operate in California amid the high costs and stiff regulations.

“California is kind of unique because of all the regulations and how hard it is to do business here,” he said. “Workers’ comp, liability insurance, regulations for water runoff from our property, emission controls … should I go on?”

Teague said his business has survived largely because it’s global in nature.

“We support boat builders all over the U.S. and all over the world,” he said. “But the whole boat-building business has not gotten back to where it was in 2006 and 2007. People are more cautious with their money now, and for whatever reason they don’t trust in the future of things. And we’re dealing with discretionary income. Boating is not a need, but a desire.”

Ray Jones, president of Long Beach Yacht Sales, agreed.

“We don’t sell boats, we deliver dreams,” he said. “Boating is a lifestyle that keeps families together. It’s a lifestyle people want to live and it has tremendous value. Look at the cost of owning a boat per month versus the cost of going golfing once a week. That’s more expensive. And you can’t go back and buy time you’ve lost. People go boating because they want to spend time with their friends and families.”


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Marco youth sailing program adds new vessel

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Mary Atwood was present to see the end result of her decision to donate $5,800 for the purchase of a new boat for the Marco Island Community Sailing Center.

Dubbed “MEA” for Mary Elizabeth Atwood, the 15-foot Laser Class sailboat, was officially put into use on Thursday at the Sailing Center’s digs at the base of the S.S. Jolley Bridge, and next to the Marco Island Yacht Club parking lot.

The Sailing Center’s youth instruction program is underway and the program’s president, Rocky Cale, says the new addition is the first of three Laser Class sailboats the program will soon possess.

Cale said the boats eliminate what had been a gap in the type of vessels used for the program.

The program had been limited to an Opti Class boat and a larger 420 Class boat and the laser is an intermediate step between the two.

“The nice thing is for a youth sailing program, it (the laser) has the flex of having three different size sails,” said Cale. “You can size the boat to the individual. You can match their skill level and weight. It’s a great training boat.”

An Orlando resident, Atwood, who’s now 91, sold her car at age 90 and applied the proceeds to causes that benefit youth.

“He does such a great job and I’m happy that I can be here and see the boat,” she said of Cale, who is her son in-law.


Similar news:

Boating industry, hit hard during recession, starts to turn around in …



Photos: Hallett Boats in Irwindale | Teague Custom Marine in Valencia


Southland boaters are gearing up for the summer season, and in California that’s big business.

With weekend temperatures expected to hit 100 degrees or higher in most inland regions, many boaters will be scrambling to escape the heat and get out on the water — any water.

A new report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association reveals that recreational boating generates a total economic impact of $8.94 billion a year for California. In a state known for its great weather, easy coastal access and inland lakes and waterways, California has a year-round industry that supports 3,062 boating-related businesses and employs 71,748 people.

And that’s just a slice of the action.

Nationwide, recreational boating generates $121.5 billion a year and supports nearly 964,000 jobs and 34,833 businesses, according to the report. The numbers are impressive. But association President Thom Dammrich said California’s boating industry is still feeling the aftereffects of the Great Recession.

“For years California was No. 1 for registered boaters and boating

expenditures, which includes sales of new boats and power accessories, but it has dropped to No. 11,” he said. “We’re starting to see a turnaround around in California, but it has lagged the rest of the country. That has largely to do with the housing market.”

The housing meltdown took a heavy toll in California, particularly in the Inland Empire where homes are less expensive and more construction was underway. But recent figures reveal a sharp uptick in prices. The state’s median home price rose nearly 32 percent last month to $417,350 compared with $316,460 a year earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors.

And the National Marine Manufacturers Association notes that California still ranks second in annual recreational boat expenditures and trip spending, and in total economic impact generated by recreational boating. The top slot belongs to Florida, where the industry generates $10.4 billion a year.

But tough times or not, die-hard boaters are determined to get out on the water, according to Dammrich.

“There is this large, installed base of active boaters who already have boats and do a lot of spending,” he said. “Boating is a discretionary thing,

so people don’t have to spend their money that way. But it’s also a lifestyle. There are lots of people out there who own boats and might not buy new boats as soon as they would have … but they are not giving up their boats.”

Dyanna Smith isn’t giving up hers. The 62-year-old Norco resident said she’s been around boats for as long as she can remember.

“I started working in commercial fishing in Bodega Bay when I was 19 or 20, and back then I was one of just a few women who were doing it,” she said. “I’ve also been diving since 1996, so I’ve had boats most all of the time.”

Smith and her husband, David, recently bought a 26-foot Cutwater boat from Long Beach Yacht Sales. The $139,000 craft is a vast improvement over their last boat, which gobbled up gas at a frantic pace.

“The old boat had a 130-gallon gas tank and would only take premium gas,” she said. “So when gas was over $5 a gallon … we really had to plan our trips. But the new boat has an 80-gallon tank and gets more than double the gas mileage.”

Many people can’t afford new boats, so sales of used ones have risen dramatically, according to Nick Barron, owner of Hallett Boats in Irwindale. Hallett makes a variety of custom-built watercraft.

“We’re selling a lot of used boats because they are going for about half of what people paid for them,” he said. “We’ve lost a number of boat manufacturers, and many of the ones we haven’t lost are in bankruptcy or Chapter 11. We’re just faced with real tough times. The banks won’t even finance a boat for someone if they’ve been late on a couple of house payments.”

Barron, who founded his company in 1957, said he’s weathered lots of ups and downs over the years.

“In the good old days I used to build about 500 boats a year — but not anymore,” he said. “We’re building a lot of bigger 40-footers now, so you obviously can’t build as many of those as the 20-footers, which was mainly what we built in the old days. But now we’re lucky if we build 30 to 36 boats a year.”

Hallett’s website showcases everything from a 210 S Closed Bow speedboat priced at $61,900, to a larger 33-foot-6-inch powerboat, which is selling for $182,900.

Teague Custom Marine Inc. in Santa Clarita has also noted an industry downturn although its global customer base has kept the company busy and in the black. Teague sells a variety of boating products, ranging from engines, propellers and exhaust systems to filters, mounts and flywheels. Owner Bob Teague said his biggest challenge is trying to operate in California amid the high costs and stiff regulations.

“California is kind of unique because of all the regulations and how hard it is to do business here,” he said. “Workers’ comp, liability insurance, regulations for water runoff from our property, emission controls … should I go on?”

Teague said his business has survived largely because it’s global in nature.

“We support boat builders all over the U.S. and all over the world,” he said. “But the whole boat-building business has not gotten back to where it was in 2006 and 2007. People are more cautious with their money now, and for whatever reason they don’t trust in the future of things. And we’re dealing with discretionary income. Boating is not a need, but a desire.”

Ray Jones, president of Long Beach Yacht Sales, agreed.

“We don’t sell boats, we deliver dreams,” he said. “Boating is a lifestyle that keeps families together. It’s a lifestyle people want to live and it has tremendous value. Look at the cost of owning a boat per month versus the cost of going golfing once a week. That’s more expensive. And you can’t go back and buy time you’ve lost. People go boating because they want to spend time with their friends and families.”


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Joe Becker 1918-2013: Tulsan was two-time national sailing champion, five-time Oklahoma champ

The answer for Joe Becker was blowing in the wind.

The question: Why did sailors from Oklahoma and other midwestern states always seem to do so well in competitions?

Sailors from the coasts wanted to know.

Becker believed it was the region’s tricky winds. Having to deal constantly with them made you better, the champion competitive sailor once told the Tulsa World.

Beyond that, they made sailing “a real thrill. We never give up, even though at times it’s like a slot machine. It’s a matter of detecting the wind shifts. That’s where the skill and experience are important.”

Operator of his own sailboat dealership, Tulsa Sail-Craft, for 32 years, Becker had learned how to harness and use the wind’s power as well as anyone.

Over 60 years of competitive racing, he collected more than 200 trophies, he estimated, including, in the Catalina 22 sailboat class, back-to-back national crowns and five state titles.

Joe A. Becker, a longtime Tulsan and sailing aficionado, died June 23. He was 95.

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Monday at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. Ninde Brookside Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

“My dad was never into what we called ‘cruising,’ ” said Barbara Meehan, Becker’s daughter and Tulsa resident.

“It was always about the racing with him. He was always trying to figure out how to make that boat go just a little bit faster.”

Whether they were into cruising or racing, Becker enjoyed sharing the sailing life with others.

As a boat dealer and leader in Tulsa’s sailing community, he introduced lots of people to the sport, helping match them to the right boat and often to the right sailing club or marina, his daughter said.

Becker’s life had revolved around sailing since his youth.

A native of Marietta, Ohio, who grew up in East Texas, Becker, as a sea scout, was sailing on Galveston Bay at age 15.

Although blind in one eye from a childhood accident, he never let it hinder him.

Graduating from high school in Houston, he later worked as a shrimp boat captain in the Gulf of Mexico, and at a cannery in Alaska.

Becker and his wife, Gerry, moved to Tulsa from Dallas in 1955, where he joined his father in his oil business.

In his spare time, Becker began selling boats out of his backyard, and the couple started Tulsa Sail-Craft in 1966.

They would run the family business until 1998.

For all the boats he sold, Becker stayed true to just one: his beloved Catalina 22 “Luff Affair,” a luff being the forward edge of a sail.

He competed in the sailboat for more than 25 years, winning his two national titles in it. Those came in consecutive years, at Dallas in 1975 and Seattle in 1976. He also was a five-time Oklahoma state champion.

Becker, who sailed with Tulsa’s WindyCrest Sailing Club, was also instrumental in bringing national regattas to the area.

When the Catalina 22 National Championship was held at Lake Keystone in 1999, Becker, at age 81, chaired the event and competed in it.

He had done the same two previous times, in 1986 and 1993, when the event was held locally.

Becker continued sailing into his mid-80s, but it got to be too difficult for him to keep his balance in the boat, his daughter said, and he reluctantly gave it up.

Becker’s son-in-law Kevin Meehan, who worked at Tulsa Sail-Craft for 20 years, died June 17.

Becker was also preceded in death by his brother, Dick Becker, who was killed in World War II.

Becker’s survivors include his wife of 59 years, Gerry Becker; three daughters, Barbara Meehan, Becky Luster and Sandy Hardy; six grandchildren; and a sister, Sara Coleman.


Tim Stanley 918-581-8385

tim.stanley@tulsaworld.com

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To drag John Hughes off the ranch he built would’ve taken more than wild horses.

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