Blog

Fishing Around…

We’ve been fishing for our next blog for some time and today my line got a big hit.

I received yet another first hand association to the Star Fish and Oyster Company, replying to “New Beginnings…Star Fish and LGV”. I never imagined my blog post would allow me to the opportunity to connect with others who have been touched by Star Fish, but I am definitely grateful! 

Tom: The Fisherman Who Caught a Break

The first came from Tom.  In 1980, Tom was desperate for adventure.  On a whim, he fled Grand Rapids with a drinking buddy.  His marriage was on the rocks and he needed time and space.  Tom’s friend suggested fishing-for-pay (similar to working on an offshore oil rig but on a 75′ snapper schooner).  Upon arriving the Alabama State docks, they were directed to the Star Fish.  The 2 novices were hired as “Greenhorns” collecting 1/2 share for their pay along with the worst room and board I can imagine.  His 30 days out at sea were life changing.  Tom still keeps a reel from this 35 year old adventure in his car trunk to remind himself it did take place…it did happen…it did alter his life and he is a better man because of this experience.  Thanks Tom!

Imagine Tom arriving in 1980 at Star Fish docks to begin his adventure! Photo from 50th Anniversary book

Ruth: Family Connections

Ruth emailed me on April 26.  It turns out, Ruth is my third cousin.  Her dad, Frank, worked at the Star Fish for 40 years.  Frank was Chief Supervisor of Shipping.  Star Fish and the Gonzales clan were central to her life.  Ruth knew my great uncles, aunts and their children quite well.  She remembers my great grandmother who her father called, Tia Leo, my grandmother, Ella Mae and my Aunt Jean, who worked at the Star Fish.  Ruth and I hope to connect in person one day.

Ruth’s father, Frank Fernandez, circa 1959, my newly discovered relatives and key Star Fish employee

Patti: Getting a Bite

The daughter of Captain Ted Leiser, Patti, commented on the Star Fish blog hours ago.  Ted was a star Captain of the Star Fish.  The “Baby Ann” (named after my mom) and “Lisa G.” were his babies, his boats.  The Star Fish scrapbook mentions Ted often and includes some great photos of Captain Ted.  Patti wondered if his record of a 44,000 pound snapper/grouper catch in 1958 was ever beaten.  I don’t think so but will research!

Captain Ted Leiser (far left) and the 3 Gonzales Brothers, circa 1958

Star Fish provided a living and created a community on those smelly Alabama docks off Mobile Bay.  Star Fish changed lives, saved lives, supplied fish to soldiers, Presidents, poor folk, average families all over the country for decades.  Star Fish and the Gonzales family took care of their employees, were ahead of their times regarding customer service and were respected leaders in the industry. The Star Fish team cared about one another.  So much we can learn from those before us; so much to carry on!  Thank you, Mr. Vic…my Papa and the Star Fish family for making my day.

Below: Catch by Patti’s father, Captain Ted