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2021 Obituaries

J.R. Henley, 1943-2021

J. R. (Jesse Radford) Henley passed away peacefully, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 at his home after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 77. J. R. was born Dec. 12, 1943, in Birmingham, Alabama. Soon after, his family moved to Saraland, Alabama where he grew up. He graduated from Satsuma High School and then began his work career. J. R. retired from International Paper Company in 1996 where he was employed for 28 years. 

J. R. is survived by his wife, Anne Elizabeth Poche' Henley; his son, Bryan "Keith" Henley (Marie) Chunchula, Alabama; step-son, Andrew "Michael" Hawkins (Madelaine) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; sister, Nancy Henley Merritt, Axis, Alabama; son- in-law, Brian Baxter, Huntsville, Alabama; nephew David Windle (Bernadette) Axis, Alabama; great nephew, Christopher Windle (Katie), Huntsville, Alabama; other nieces and nephews; 5 step grandchildren and 2 great step grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Radford Henley, Sr. and Jessie Leora Cleckler Henley; his brother- in- law, Henry Merritt and step daughter, Jennifer Claire Hawkins Baxter. 

Other than loving God, his family and friends, J. R. loved water skiing. It was his passion sport. He began skiing on the Creek in Satsuma, and was part of the Aqua Nuts Ski Club. His dream was to build his own 3-event water ski lake and community. He pursued his dream, and many years later, after much sacrifice, dedication and hard work, Ski Chaste Lake hosted its first tournament in 1990. The lake, its community and tournaments continue to flourish to this day. He certainly accomplished his dream. Ski Chaste is a beautiful, serene piece of Heaven on earth. 

He was a pioneer in water skiing in Alabama and will be remembered for his "behind the scenes" work in promoting the sport. He was a tireless worker who made it possible for others to learn, compete and enjoy the sport. For his accomplishments, he was inducted into the Alabama Waterski Federation Hall of Fame in 2016. He held ratings of Senior Driver and National Safety Director. He loved being around family and friends, helping others in any way possible, and joining in "pickin and grinning" on the lake.

Funeral services will be held at St. Agatha Catholic Church (1001 Hand Avenue, Bay Minette, AL 36507) on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m.; Rosary at 10:30 a.m. followed by Mass of Christian burial at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Agatha Catholic Church, 1001 Hand Avenue, Bay Minette, AL 36507, or the Alabama Waterski Federation, 10715 Ski Chaste Lane, Axis, AL 36505.

William Maxwell Reaves, 1928-2021

William Maxwell Reeves, 92, of Canton, Miss., passed away on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 at his home. A graveside service will be held at Canton City Cemetery on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm.

Billy was born on May 1, 1928 in Walnut Grove, Mississippi to Milton Allen “Mitt” and Otis Amanda Langston Reeves.
He graduated from Walnut Grove High School, where he was affectionately known as "Billy Mack." He attended East Central Community College. He spent his career in the hardware business, owning Crystal Springs Hardware and working for Moore-Handley and Orgill Brothers Hardware. He was a skilled carpenter, who enjoyed building and working outdoors after his retirement and into his late 80s.

For decades, he was a sought-after boat driver in national and international water ski tournaments. He won the American Water Ski Association's Fred Wiley Award for the outstanding driver at the Water Ski National Championships six times in the 1970s and 1980s. He is co-founder of the Cedar Ridge Skiers association and lake in Madison County. A talented singer, he sang bass for a gospel quartet called “By His Grace” for decades. He was also a faithful member of Center Terrace Baptist Church in Canton, where he served as a deacon and choir member.

He is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mamie Ruth Reeves and Rose Ann Reeves Jones; wife of 50+ years, Nita Tucker Reeves; and step-son, Jerry Marshall. He is survived by his sister, Mary Kate Duncan; wife, Edna Reeves, along with her children, Billy Cook (Rebekah), Jimmy Cook (Patricia), Shirley Church (Ferrell) and their six children. He is also survived by nieces, Mitsy Bailey, Amanda Gregory, Becky Sanders, Renez Lantrip, and Barbara White; nephews, Danny Jones and George Jones; and a host of great-nieces and great-nephews.

Paul Boel, 1922-2021

Paul Erik Boel, of Traverse City, Mich., passed away peacefully on Jan. 17, 2021 at his home in Cordia Grand Traverse.

Paul was born on a farm on the island of Fyn, Denmark May 12, 1922. Paul was youngest of 6 children born to Marius and Else Boel. Born into a cheese-making family, his dad, Marius Boel, invented a cows milk Blue cheese, Paul decided to move to America around 1952 and try his luck at cheese importing from Europe to North America for which he did successfully until he sold his business in the mid 1980s.

On the ship's journey to America, Paul met and fell in love with a young lady Caecilia "Litzi" Alice Miesgang , who preceded him in death. Litzi- was from the small village of Strobl, Austria. They married and had two daughters, Heidi (Perry Pentiuk) and Christa Boel.

Paul had four grandchildren, Anna (Billy White), Stefani (Trevan Thompson), Misha and Tatyana Adler; along with two great grandchildren, Silas and Otto White. Paul received great joy in his family, here and abroad.

Paul lived life with infectious optimism and joy for life. He had a passion for waterskiing for which he competed into his 90th year and was inducted into the Waterski Hall of Fame. This passion was so great that after losing a lease on a lake at 78 years young, he bought acreage and developed Tivoli Gardens a competition water ski lake for the promotion of the sport he loves so much.

Memorial donations may be made to Mayo Clinic 200 First Street SW Rochester, MN 55905. This for which there is a special place in Paul's and our families' hearts.

Marc Paul Heinrich Dross, 1958-2021

Paul, “Paulie,” “Nigel,” “P-diddy,” Heinrich Dross, life-long resident of the Hartland/Merton/Lake Keesus area, passed away unexpectedly, surrounded by his family, in Cape Coral, FL on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at the age of 62.  The world has lost a deeply devoted, loving, and vibrant man!  Paul Heinrich Dross was born to Heinrich and Nancy Ann (Boman) Dross on December 5, 1958 in Milwaukee, WI.

Paul graduated from Arrowhead High School in Hartland in 1977.  He attended St. Olaf College, Carroll College, and the University of Wisconsin—Waukesha.  Following college, Paul built a successful business as a painting contractor.  In 1990 he joined the staff of Insurance Associates, Dross Agency, which was operated by his mother. Paul earned his Certified Insurance Counselor professional designation and began leading the business in 1998 and later purchased the business in 1999.  Paul built Dross Countryside Agency into a very successful, full-service insurance agency where he went to great lengths to care for and provide exceptional service to his clients.

Paul was one of the earliest members of the KeeWee Water Ski Club on Lake Keesus, which merged with the Nagawautics Ski Club in 1983 to become the Badgerland Water Ski Show Team.  Paul was the core and heartbeat of Badgerland for many years. Paul lead the team serving as skier, show director, announcer, and mentor guiding them to seven Division One state titles in ten years along with a National Championship in 1992.  He taught, motivated and united everyone who joined.  He made Badgerland the family that it is with his warm welcome and energetic inspiration. Paul and the Badgerland family were looking forward to the ski season under his direction and leadership in the summer of 2021 following a break from the team to help raise his daughters with Staci. Paul was so excited to share his lifelong passion with his girls.

Anyone who knew Paul, felt his love and zest for life.  He had a heart of gold and would drop everything at any moment to help anyone. The word “no” was not in his vocabulary.  His girls knew this. 

His infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy were unmatched.  He was compassionate, kind, funny and had a captivating presence that filled up any room.  Paul charged at life full throttle and he lived every moment to its fullest.  His big hugs were welcoming, healing and loving and will be missed dearly by everyone!

There was nothing more important to Paul than his beautiful daughters as he cherished every moment with them.  He also enjoyed anything outdoors including water skiing, snow skiing, boating, golfing, hunting, fishing and camping especially with his family.

Paul will be deeply missed by his loving fiancé, Staci Maloney; his adoring daughters, Emma and Addison; his brother, Peter (Karla) of Hugo, MN; and many, many friends.  He is preceded in death by his father, Heinrich, in 1973 and his mother, Nancy, in 2017.  He was an unconditional and loving partner, dad, dear brother and best friend to so many. Paul, you have left an amazing legacy of love to Staci, Emma and Addison and all who knew you.

2020 Obituaries

Marc Shaw, 1972-2020

USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is saddened to report the passing of Marc Shaw, a former national water ski record holder, multi-time national champion, and senior world champion. Marc passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 as the result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Nov. 27, 2020. He was 48 years old.

Born March 17, 1972, Marc won his first national title in 1989 at age 17, winning Boys’ overall. He won his final and 22nd career national title in 2019, winning Men 4 overall.

At the 2018 IWWF 35+ Water Ski World Championships, Marc was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. 35+ Water Ski Team. He won the gold medal in 45+ Men overall (3,000.0 points) and earned the silver medal in jumping (161 feet).

At the 2019 IWWF Pan American Water Ski Championships, Marc and teammate Lori Krueger comprised the two-member U.S. 45+ Water Ski Team that won the overall team gold medal (despite other countries fielding teams with as many as six skiers). Marc won gold medals in men’s slalom (1-1/2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off), tricks (3,610 points), jumping (166 feet) and overall (3,000.0 points). Marc also served as the coach of the four U.S. Teams that competed in the biennial event, all of which won overall team gold medals.

Along with his world-class water ski talent, Marc will be remembered for being a true champion off the water. He served as coach and mentor to countless junior water ski athletes over the past two decades and his selfless courage will never be forgotten. At the time of his passing, Marc provided the gift of life to three matching organ recipients across the country. 

Rhonda Van Dyk, 1958-2020

USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is saddened to learn of the passing of Rhonda Van Dyk, a longtime member and supporter of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. Van Dyk, 62, passed away on Nov. 18, 2020, according to her family, after a short but tough fight with COVID-19. She developed pneumonia and fought hard for several weeks, displaying her usual grit, but ultimately could not recover.

For those of you lucky enough to have Rhonda in your lives, you know that she was a wonderful mother and wife as well as an avid member of the church with a kind and beautiful soul. Rhonda was a truly selfless woman whose love and volunteerism knew no boundaries. 

Rhonda worked as a Certified Meeting Planner for the Mel Trotter Ministries providing services for the homeless in West Michigan. Here is their tribute to Rhonda: "Rhonda’s spirit was one of unparalleled care for others. She exemplified selflessness. From making sure our guests secured food, shelter, and programming to making sure her fellow team members received birthday, anniversary, and frequent inspirational thank you cards - Rhonda loved others well. She showed up. She listened. She demonstrated her care and concern for others each and every day in both words and actions, which was exactly in line with her real and strong faith in Jesus." 

Rhonda and her family have been highly involved in competitive water skiing. Both Rhonda and her husband Dan are 3-event Senior Judges and Scorers and have officiated at both the national and world levels. They have been avid supporters of adaptive water skiing since 1985. Rhonda served on the board of directors for USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports, where her many positions included President, Board Chair, International Activities Committee Chair, Fundraiser, and so much more. She helped organize both adaptive National and World Championships in Michigan as well as local learn-to-ski clinics. She was always encouraging new adaptive athletes to challenge themselves out on the water. She had a hard time saying no to any water ski related event. She was inducted into the Michigan Water Ski Association's Hall of Fame in 2019 for her exemplary commitment to water skiing. 

Rhonda also served as the USA Adaptive Water Ski Team Manager for seven World Championships where the team earned 5 Gold and 2 Silver medals resulting in worldwide respect and admiration for her work ethic and loving spirit. She served as an appointed Judge or Scorer in 90% of USA's Adaptive Water Ski Nationals. When she was not an official team staff member, she was appointed as an official at the World Adaptive Championships held in Michigan, Florida and Belgium.

We will miss hearing her voice from the shorelines cheering on Team USA. We will miss the guidance she provided for so many of us. We will miss our Dear Rhonda! We thank her for all she did to make this world a better place!

In lieu of flowers, Rhonda's family would appreciate donations to USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports, one of the loves of her life. You can donate via usaadaptivewaterski.org, leaving a note that your donation is in Rhonda's memory.

Lisa St. John, 1954-2020

Lisa St. John, the 1973 women’s world overall champion and a 1995 inductee into the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s Water Ski Hall of Fame, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, at her home in Orlando, Fla. She was 66 years old.
 
Lisa took her first ski ride in the arms of her father in 1956, at the age of 18 months. Thus began a water ski career that filled the St. Johns' home in Fall River Mills, Calif., with trophies representing victories in the smallest local tournaments on up to the world championships.
 
Lisa's future in the sport seemed almost unlimited until a severe back injury sustained in the 1973 California International Cup cut short her career.  She skied competitively in the Open Division after that but not with the unbounded skill and enthusiasm that had marked her skiing before the accident.
 
Born Lisa Dale St. John on Sept., 30, 1954, in Redding, Calif., Lisa came into the world of water skiing as a natural extension of her family's favorite recreational activity. Her father, Dale St. John, not only enjoyed skiing but was skilled as a boat driver for tournaments that later would include world class competition. Her mother, Babs, was an accomplished three-event contestant, winning the Senior Women's National overall title in 1963. Lisa's younger sister, Lynn, later became a Nationals-caliber skier. Only her older brother, Dennis, with his 6-4, 200 pound plus frame, moved into other high school athletic pursuits such as football and basketball.
  
From 1966 through 1971, Lisa amassed a total of 16 nationals titles. She entered her first Nationals at the age of 8 in 1963 at Long Beach, Calif., and continued to ski in Junior Girls competition for a total of five Nationals, a record for the division.
 
Her success continued when she graduated into the Girls Division, despite a knee injury, which hampered her jumping performances.  She made a clean sweep for the Girls overall crown in 1970 and just missed repeating the feat a year later with victories in slalom and tricks and a second in jumping.
 
Lisa's skill earned her an invitation to the Masters in 1966 when, at age 11, she became the youngest invitee in the history of the tournament.  She responded with a 3,208-point performance in the second round of tricks, which turned out to be the best score among the women contestants even though a fall in the opening round had kept Lisa out of the finals.
 
She competed in eight consecutive Masters, winning the slalom title in 1972 and finishing second overall twice.
 
Lisa's career reached its climax in 1973 when she set a world jumping record of 116 feet in June and won the world overall championship in Bogotá, Columbia. Ten days after the world meet, she injured her lower back in the Cal Cup.
 
Even though Lisa developed into an excellent jumper, slalom and tricks were her dominant disciplines early in her career. Her parents didn't permit her to try the five-foot ramp until 1964, three years after she began tournament skiing.
 
So it is not surprising that at the time of her induction into the Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1995 that Lisa recalled her greatest thrill in water skiing as the time when she leaped 100 feet at the 1970 Masters to become the eighth female member of the Century Club.

Thomas Goldsmith Chapin, 1926-2020

Thomas Goldsmith Chapin, 94, 0f White Bear lake, Minn., passed away peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Oct. 21, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents Hertha and Harold, siblings Don, Doris, and Ken, and his first wife Anzle. He is survived by his wife of twenty-one years Ida Batroot Chapin, children Paul (Carol) of White Bear, Ross (Deborah) of Seattle, Steve (Kiesy) of Seattle, and Evelyn (Mark Duvall) of White Bear, and grandchildren Eric, Katie, Andie, Aleah, Qwill, Julia, and Jessica and great grandchildren Gerard and Sam.

Tom grew up in Bald Eagle, the youngest of four children. His future wife Anzle and her family summered next door to the Chapin’s. He attended the Beach School and was a proud 1944 graduate of White Bear High School where he played in the band and was a letterman, earning his W.

After graduation he enlisted in the US Army Air Force where he served active duty as a PT instructor until his honorable discharge in 1945. Soon thereafter he enrolled at the University of Minnesota and graduated from IT as a mechanical engineer. His first jobs after graduation in 1949 were in Connecticut and Ohio. From there he moved back home and started with the Hamm Brewing Company in 1954 where he rose to the position of plant manager. In 1974 he went to 3M until retirement in 1994 Anzle passed  away in 1995 and a few years later, in 1999,  he and Ida Batroot married. Ida’s late husband George Batroot and his siblings family were childhood friends of Tom and Anzle’s. Tom and Ida enjoyed 21 years of marriage together and they had lots of fun at home and in their many adventures across the U.S. and abroad.

Family, friends, and community were important to Tom. He was a devoted and loving husband, and his children and grandchildren  were always at the top of his list.  Whether it was projects that he would involve them with, schoolwork, athletic events, or adventures, he was an active and interested dad and grandpa.  He encouraged each of his children to pursue their own interests and would often do activities one on one with them. He never hesitated to help out at each of their homes on projects or pursue various activities such as back packing, back county skiing, alpine skiing, sailing, biking, or road trips.

He loved his life at Bald Eagle lake and enjoyed many sports,  but most especially his life on skis, both winter and summer. In the 1930s he and his friends would hike to the hills of the White Bear Yacht Club, especially the third hole, and it was there that he taught himself to snow ski. In his early twenties he spent the winter of 1948-49 as a pioneer ski bum in Aspen, CO.  After Anzle passed  away in 1995 and when he retired, he again  spent a couple of  winters skiing in Aspen. This led to him buying his own condo that he and Ida enjoyed  together. His family often visited them and each grandchild got to know the mountain trails quite well, thanks to their grandpa.

He was  a volunteer Ambassador for the Aspen Ski Corporation and  being a ski host on the mountain with guests and telling and showing  them of Aspen’s history. During those years he entered some local ski races, and won the Masters National Downhill title in his early 70 age group. 

In the late 1960s and early 70s he often took his young his family to the local North Oaks Ski Club where they had a single rope tow. Wild Mountain opened in 1973 and he became a ski patroller and advanced a senior patroller during his tenure. He, Paul, and Evelyn also raced with The Ski Challenge at Buck Hill and Wild Mountain for a long time and  Paul and Evelyn, and  Mark continue to be avid racers. Tom skied until the age of 89, a remarkable run of approximately 80 years on snow.

Tom and Anzle first learned to water ski in 1949 on White Bear Lake and were among the founders of the Bald Eagle Water Club in 1953. He and other club member laid out the very first slalom course in the lake in 1954 and to this day skiers of all ages use and enjoy the  course on a daily basis. The ‘Water Club” sponsored shows and tournaments from the beginning and Tom was an advent participant. He competed in slalom and trick skiing  until his mid 80s and won many state, regional, and national titles and set state records, some of which are still unbroken. He was a founding member of the Minnesota Water Ski Association and is in its Hall of Fame.

He was known as someone who was always ready to help with events, and was a coach and mentor. Tom’s enthusiasm for both  sports is legendary. He enjoyed the athleticism, speed, fun, camaraderie, and the competition. Everyone knew him to be a fierce but friendly competitor, and he always would go out of his way to make others feel welcome and confident in themselves.

He was happily married to Ida and was so proud of his children and grandchildren who are making a life for themselves. Tom led a full and active life, and he will be missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

Walter May, 1935-2020

Walter May, 84, passed away on Oct. 14, 2020 in DeLand, Fla., after complications from surgery. Walter was born on November 2, 1935 in Quitman, Mississippi, to B.P. and Ilaree May. He was the oldest of three children and was predeceased by both sisters, Evelyn Dean (Donald) and Ann Crowe (Sonny).

He married Rachel Boyles on March 30, 1958. They were married for 62 years and had one daughter, Brenda. Walter served in the Air National Guard for 11 years and served as a staff sergeant in the Air Force until 1962. Walter was a past President of the DeLand Lions Club, former Director of the West Volusia YMCA Board of directors and formerly on the Board of Directors for the Deltona Chamber of Commerce. Walter retired in 1992 from Southeast Bank as Vice President and Banking Center Manager after a 30-year career in banking.

Walter was a water ski and flat kite enthusiast from a young age, which is how he met his wife, Rachel. His water ski career, spanning decades, included being the MasterCraft boat company’s Southern Region promotional coordinator, former President of the Florida Water Ski Federation and an inductee into the Florida Water Ski Federation Hall of Fame. He was a senior boat driver who pulled numerous collegiate, disabled, and 3-event tournaments along with national and world championships, which included driving countless national and world records. He also had the rare pleasure of being the freestyle jump driver on the Coors Light pro-tour series.

Walter’s family shared this tribute to this amazing husband, dad and grandfather. “Papaw, as he was affectionally called, was full of life and it was his mission to share his fun loving, make something out of nothing attitude with everyone he met. He made sure there was never a dull moment with his grandchildren constantly coming up with off the wall ideas to fill their time. This included building water skis, building skiing disks, having boat parades flying U.S. flags, putting on ski shows for neighbors where the more out of the ordinary the ski, lawn chair, ladders, disks, etc., the more he laughed and the more he enjoyed doing lap after lap pulling his grandkids around the lake. Papaw will be missed dearly!”

Walter is survived by his wife, Rachel, his daughter, Brenda Worden and his two grandchildren, Zack and Sydney Worden.

Ralph Armstrong, 1938-2020 

Ralph Armstrong, a longtime member of the American Water Ski Association and USA Water Ski & Wake Sports, and one of the sport’s most decorated tournament drivers, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 4, with his family by his side in Destin, Fla. He was 82.

His involvement in water skiing spanned more than 50 years. He started his career as an accomplished water skier and driver in the 1950s, taking part in one of the first Tommy Bartlett Water Ski Shows in Wisconsin Dells. He later stopped skiing and shifted his focus to becoming a great boat driver. He built his own ski boat in the 1960s and took it to every local tournament to pull skiers and traveled the region pulling skiers at tournaments in Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas.  With the advent of the professional towboat program, Armstrong sold his man-made boat, purchased a MasterCraft and entered the promotional boat program. For the next half century, he dedicated his driving talents, advice and expertise to the sport.  

His competitive career includes many distinguished years as a driver in major water ski events. He was selected as a driver for numerous world and national events, including Junior World Championships, World Games, Elite World Championships, Pan American Games, U.S. National Championships and the U.S. Open.  He was Chief Driver at Elite World Championships and numerous Pan American Championships. He was heavily involved in the adaptive water ski program, serving as a driver at the Disabled World Championships in Australia and numerous U.S. Disabled Water Ski National Championships. 

He was a four-time recipient of the Fred Wiley Award for Most Outstanding Driver at the U.S. Water Ski National Championships. In 2008, upon his retirement from driving, he was awarded Senior Driver Emeritus status by the American Water Ski Association board of directors. 

He was inducted into the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s Water Ski Hall of Fame as an Award of Distinction recipient in 2017.

Jim Boyette, 1927-2020

James Bee Boyette, 92, who had competed in every U.S. Barefoot Water Ski National Championships for 41 consecutive years until 2019, passed away in Orlando, Fla., on July 19, 2020. He was born in Tampa, Florida on November 18. 1927. James is survived by his children Billie Joe Boyette, Rickey Duke and Darrell Duke; his grandchildren Heather Rhyne, Bethany Duke, Douglas Duke, and Rickey Duke Jr; his Great Grandchildren Alice Rhyne and Chance Duke, and his Niece Hallie Boyette. 

Jim McCormick, 1944-2020

Jim McCormick, who was involved in water skiing for more than 50 years as a competitor, coach, innovator, and pioneer died on June 20. He was 75 years old. Jim coached some of the sport's greatest athletes, including Sammy Duvall, Wayne Grimditch, Mike Hazelwood, Bob LaPoint, Kris LaPoint, Nicholas Le Forestier, Patrice Martin, Karin Roberge, Ron Scarpa, Don Thompson, and Christie Weir, just to name a few. He also coached junior and elite teams from Belgium, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. He helped design slalom skis with Cypress Gardens; and worked with Correct Craft on R&D for new boats. 
 
Having created the first man-made ski school lake in the United States, he made the three-lake ski site available for numerous major tournaments, including the Pan American Water Ski Championships and several U.S. water ski team trials. On one of the lakes, he opened a cable park in 2008.

Jim was the first to incorporate video into ski school training and made several innovations - such as grooves and top beveled edges as well as shorter skis - in the construction of trick skis. 

Because Jim's competitive career was cut short by a knee injury in 1958, he decided to begin concentrating on coaching. He moved from his native Missouri to Florida in 1967 so that he could coach full-time. 

Jim had four sons: Jimmy, Michael, Daniel and Patrick, who set records that still stand today. Finally, he played a major role in developing the skills of his Hall of Fame brother, Ricky, who was one of the best skiers in the world during his heyday.  Jim was given the USA Water Ski Foundation's Award of Distinction in 1997 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

George Everett Tracy, 1950-2020

George Everett Tracy, age 69, of Vero Beach, Fla., passed away unexpectedly, Saturday, June 20, 2020. George was the owner and operator of George Tracy Plumbing, Inc. He was a member of Port St. Lucie Ski Club and Ski Club of the Palm Beaches. George enjoyed line dancing, singing and playing his guitar. He is survived by his daughters, Candee Zicari and Natalee Tracy; grandson, Kyle Zicari; and sister, Bonnie Alberga. 

Dr. Tom Strong, 1945-2020

Dr. Tom Strong, the longtime water ski coach at the University of Alabama, passed away on Thursday, May 28. He was 74 years old. Beloved by students, alumni and colleagues throughout the nation, Dr. “Tom” Strong offered extraordinary care and support for students throughout his stellar 38-year career at the University of Alabama. He earned two degrees from UA, including a master’s degree in guidance and student personnel, and a doctoral degree in educational administration and planning. Strong’s exemplary service included terms as the Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. 

He provided administrative leadership for an extensive list of areas on campus. Student Recreation, Greek Life, Orientation, Student Media, Community Service, Residential Communities, the Career Center, the Counseling Center, the On Call Dean Program, Disabled Student Services, Veterans Student Services, International Student and Scholar Services, Graduate Student Services, and Parent and Family Programs are only a sampling of offices that benefited from his counsel and support. 

Credited as a steadfast friend to students and an example for all, his establishment of the Crimson Care program and the former Learning Skills Center demonstrated his loyalty to assisting members of the UA family. Strong is a long-time supporter of Crimson Tide athletics. He wrote the initial proposal for a women’s athletic program and served as the first director. He founded the UA water ski team. His contributions to the University will continue to have a lasting and significant impact on students of UA’s past, present and future.

Gordon Hall, 1957-2020

It is with great sadness that the family of Robert “Gordon” Hall II of Martindale, Texas announces his passing on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the age of 62. Gordon will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 38 years, Barbara Hall; son Robert “Bobby” Gordon Hall III, his wife Katy and their child Robert Gordon Hall IV; son Steven Christopher Hall; brother Howard Hall, his wife Karin and their children Hayden, Hannah and Megan; sister Holley Dean, her husband Chris and their children Abbey and Libbey; and many cherished aunts, cousins, and friends. Gordon is preceded in death by parents Robert Gordon Hall and Harriett Elizabeth Hall, originally of Sedalia, Missouri, and brother Stuart Arthur Hall.

Gordon was born on Sept. 18, 1957 in Houston, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering Management with Honors in 1979 followed by a Master of Business Administration with Honors in 1981 from the University of Texas in Austin. Equipped with his CPA license, which he earned in 1986, and a keen business sense, Gordon enjoyed a long career as a successful entrepreneur and developer of world-class water ski communities across the state of Texas. More than just communities, he developed enduring friendships in all his adventures. 

After being raised in the Houston area where he developed a passion for water sports, Gordon became co-founder and president of the University of Texas water ski team in 1976. He was a highly awarded competitive water skier for 46 years, becoming a regional record holder, national champion, and international podium finisher multiple years, as well as being the 2019 Men 6 national tricks champion. Gordon was the current chairman of the board of the American Water Ski Association as well as recent senior tournament judge and host of multiple regional and national championships. Gordon found the most joy throughout his life spending time with his family sharing activities that they loved.

William "Bill" Edward Kosloske, 1938-2020

William "Bill" Edward Kosloske age 81, passed away peacefully January 31, 2020 at American Orchards Memory Care in Mesa, AZ surrounded by family members.
Bill and Connie raised their sports active family in Rock City, Illinois and later retired in Mesa, AZ. Bill was a brilliant second-generation entrepreneur, designing forward thinking self-funded health insurance plans. Bill and Connie worked side by side for 38 years founding the successful HPA, Inc.; later joined by their son who carried his legacy forward, serving millions of customers. Bill was an avid sportsman including water skiing, hunting, golf and cards.

Ahead of his time in many fields, he built his own 17-acre tournament ski lake, skeet range in their woods, and catfish farm all on their 40 acre home property. Between Bill plowing snow off the lake for a hockey rink, a pool and ping pong table, hoops, lake golf, poker games, and gatherings after Dakota H.S. sports our house was always filled with friends and family. Active in the A.W.S.A. since 1956, Bill was a National, International and Pro water ski judge serving on many committees. Bill, Connie, Karen and Mike were competition water skiers and ski title holders. Bill and Connie’s combined interest took them all over the world, enjoying every day. A mentor to his friends and family; encouraging daughter Karen, Education Therapist, founder of atap-eduTM and Camp GeniusTM, and author to pursue her dreams of innovative education; and his son Michael who changed the ‘mom pop” family business to a nationwide NASDAQ record breaking success. Bill was proud of his family and loved them deeply. We are forever blessed to have shared our life with him.

Bill is survived by Connie Kosloske, his beloved wife of 58 years, his children Karen (Kosloske) Schoeben M.Ed.SPEC, Michael (Lori) Kosloske; grandchildren Mary, Nick, Erika, Tyler, Calle, Averi, Jole’ and Cash, and great grandchildren Amari, Zayla and Olive. Bill is predeceased by his parents Leslie and Stella Kosloske.

David Paul Goode, 1955-2020

David Paul Goode, founder and president of Ogden-based GOODE Ski Technologies, died Wednesday, January 15, 2020, while taking part in one of his many passions, piloting his airplane. Dave had a distinguished career in both the snow and water ski industries as a creative innovator of carbon-based products that brought cutting-edge advancements to both sports.

Dave was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he attended Andover High School, graduating in 1973. At age 19, Dave achieved his dream of joining the U.S. Ski Team. After suffering a serious ankle injury, Dave focused his energy on design improvements to snow ski products and founded his first company, SAC, a ski accessory company. He soon received his first patent, the first of twenty in his lifetime, for the Racer Spacer and began traveling around the country selling his products from his van, selling over one million units in the first year. He next began working on improvements to ski poles, where his design concepts and use of advanced materials revolutionized the product. Today, GOODE ski poles continue to hold a third of the retail market and half of the rental market.

Dave then combined what he learned in the snow ski industry with his passion for water skiing to introduce the world’s first carbon-fiber water ski. Within a few years of entering the market, Dave’s skis held both the Men’s and Women’s world slalom records, and have held a world record continuously for over 20 years. A sponsor of water ski events and athletes around the world, Dave and his company have been a consistent influence in, and supporter of, the sport. While serving as the title sponsor of the GOODE U.S. Water Ski National Championships for over 20 years, GOODE water skis have won more national slalom titles than all other manufacturers combined.

In 1999, Dave married the love of his life, Dawn Itin, and in 2004, they moved GOODE Ski Technologies to Ogden, Utah, where they set about expanding the company. Dave and Dawn immediately immersed themselves in the community, helping to transform Ogden into the outdoor industry hub that it is today.

A 2014 USA Water Ski Hall of Fame Award Distinction recipient, and a member of the Michigan Water Ski Hall of Fame, Dave was an accomplished international competitor in both water skiing and snow skiing, most recently winning the downhill event at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Masters National Speed Series, and a bronze medal in trick skiing at the Senior Pan American Water Ski Championships.

A quick friend and generous mentor, Dave will be remembered for his kindness and endless support to many.

Dave is survived by his beloved wife, Dawn, his parents Paul and Mimi Goode, one sister; Barb Drndak (John), his children Michael David Goode and Lisa Goode McHugh (John), his stepchildren Whitney Hebard Felkl (Hans) and Gregory Robert Hebard (Adrianna), and his granddaughters Maple Julia McHugh and Sunny Elizabeth Hebard, with a new addition on its way.