Gary Smith was the most gentle and giving person to share diving with. He was a long time Divemaster for several boats, clubs, shops and for the past dozen plus years has been divemastering, in particular on the Dina Dee, assisting in classes and has been a cornerstone mentor for Atlantic Divers. Gary was passionate about wreck diving, collecting and spearfishing. More than any other activity, Gary enjoyed taking new divers under his wing and imparting his great knowledge of diving, the sea, and his philosophy of how to be a good parent, husband and friend. He continually shared his detailed stories, Yodels, sandwiches and sodas on every trip. His good nature never faltered. He was tireless, dedicated, cheerful and unassuming. Gary never complained and always contributed. Gary passed away this past Saturday after a routine dive on the Great Isaac. After sharing a normal ascent with his dive partner, Gary swam to the boat and landed his catch of mussels. He then ascended the ladder on his own power. He was not rescued from the water. To set the record straight....there was no foul play, nor was it a diving accident. He collapsed on the boat AFTER HIS DIVE! The crew of the Dina Dee handled this tragic event with professionalism, efficiency and with great care for their dear friend Gary.
Gary Smith founded the underwater search and rescue team in Lacey. He dedicated his life to helping others. Funeral Services are to be held at Riggs Funeral Home in Lacey on Tues. from 2-4 and 7-9. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions to the Underwater Search and Rescue Team in Lacey, Gary's life-long passion. The Museum of NJ Maritime History is also listed as a recipient in lieu of flowers.
We shall never forget his gentle ways and acts of kindness.
SMITH, GARY 66 - of Lanoka Harbor, died on Saturday May 22, 2010. Born in Bridgeport, CT, and growing up in Washington Heights, NY, Gary moved to Freehold in 1959 and then to Lanoka Harbor 40 years ago. Gary was a US Army Veteran who served during Vietnam, then with the NJ National Guard for several years. Gary was the Past Chief of the Lanoka Harbor Fire Company, Past Captain and charter member of the Lanoka Harbor EMS, and Chief and founding member of the Lacey Township Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team. Surviving are his wife of 42 years Phyllis (nee Boud), his son Gary Jr. and his wife Shalon, two daughters, Elaine Rotondella and her husband Rich, and Rose Bianco and her husband Rich all of Lanoka Harbor. Four brothers Richard, Bob, Jim "Bucky", and Dennis, two sisters Debbie Lewis and Linda Blanchard and his best friend Dave Streno. Also surviving are his nine grandchildren, Erin, Jordyn, Jenna, Jason, Jayden, Ryan, Logan, Brady and Kyle, and his many nieces and nephews. A Visitation will be held on Tuesday May 25th, 2010 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm at the Riggs Funeral Home, 130 N. Rt. 9 Forked River. A Funeral Service will be offered on Wednesday at the Funeral Home at 10:00am. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to either the Lacey Twp. Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team, PO Box 157 Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734 or the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History, Dock Road and West Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ 08008 in Gary's memory.
Authorities say heart attack killed Lacey Township Dive Team chief Gary Smith BARNEGAT LIGHT - A 61-year-old Lacey Township man died Saturday of natural causes after diving about 11 miles off Barnegat Light, authorities said.
On Monday afternoon, Deputy Chief Michael Mohel, of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, said Gary Smith, who was a founding member and chief officer of the Lacey Township Dive Team, died as a result of cardiovascular complications.
Smith was an avid diver and instructor. He had taught underwater search and recovery for several decades, longtime friend and diving colleague Deborah Whitcraft said Saturday. Smith and his wife, Phyllis, often helped out at Whitcraft's Museum of New Jersey Maritime History in Beach Haven.
On Saturday morning, Smith's group was diving from the Dina Dee II, a 42-foot charter boat out of Barnegat Light. Whitcraft said Smith was diving on the wreck of the Great Isaac.
A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said a call was received just before 9 a.m. from one of the boat's crew members asking for assistance. Coast Guard Petty Officer Crystal Kneen said resuscitation efforts on Smith were unsuccessful. With no response from Smith after 20 minutes of CPR, he was transported to Southern Ocean County Hospital in Stafford Township, where he was pronounced dead, Kneen said.
Whitcraft, of Beach Haven, said Saturday the 61-year-old was very active and fit. Smith also was a charter and life member of the Lanoka Harbor First Aid Squad. Smith and his wife helped start the organization in 1979, according to Lanoka Harbor Emergency Medical Service Chief Bob Resetar.
Whitcraft said Smith was such a stickler about safety while diving.
"Contrary to some reports, he finished the dive. He didn't lose consciousness in the water, and the weight of that equipment is incredible. He also hauled up a large bag of mussels. It was after he put the mussels onto the boat that he said he was having problems breathing. Then he collapsed on the deck," Whitcraft said.
Gene Peterson, who owns Atlantic Divers in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County, was on the Dina Dee II with Smith when he returned from his dive Saturday morning. On Monday, Peterson released a statement about Smith's death on the website of the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History. Whitcraft, who runs the website, said Peterson wanted to set the record straight about Smith's death.
"Gary passed away this past Saturday after a routine dive on the Great Isaac. After sharing a normal ascent with his dive partner, Gary swam to the boat and landed his catch of mussels. He then ascended the ladder on his own power. He was not rescued from the water. To set the record straight ... there was no foul play, nor was it a diving accident. He collapsed on the boat after his dive! The crew of the Dina Dee handled this tragic event with professionalism, efficiency and with great care for their dear friend Gary," Peterson wrote.
In his statement, Peterson wrote that Smith was "the most gentle and giving person to share diving with."
According to Peterson, Smith was a longtime divemaster for several boats, clubs and shops, in particular on the Dina Dee II.
"Gary was passionate about wreck diving, collecting and spearfishing. More than any other activity, Gary enjoyed taking new divers under his wing and imparting his great knowledge of diving, the sea, and his philosophy of how to be a good parent, husband and friend. He continually shared his detailed stories, Yodels, sandwiches and sodas on every trip," Peterson wrote.
The Lacey Township Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team is dispatched by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department's Communications Department, which handles the group's communications while they are on an assignment. The group also works closely with the Lacey Township Police Department.
Several years ago the group decided it needed to become a separate entity to be on a par with the other Lacey Township emergency service organizations. The group had existed only as a subsidiary of the other organizations and entirely funded under the Lacey Township Budget.
Members began the long process of creating a volunteer service organization and obtaining the non-profit, tax-exempt status.
Funeral services are scheduled to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Riggs Funeral Home in Lacey Township. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions to the Underwater Search and Rescue Team in Lacey Township or the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History.
Smith's was the second dive-related death in Ocean County this month. The cause of death for diver Cara LaDouceur, 33, of Mantua Township, Gloucester County, has yet to be determined, Mohel said Monday. LaDouceur was on a leisure dive May1 about eight miles off the coast of Barnegat Light when she was pulled unconscious from the water at about 12:35 p.m. The crew of the Lady Godiver requested help from the U.S. Coast Guard. CPR administered to LaDouceur on the vessel was unsuccessful. She was taken to Southern Ocean County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Head of Lacey Township dive team dies after surfacing off Long Beach Island Press of Atlantic City
An experienced diving instructor died Saturday morning after he surfaced unresponsive about 11 miles east of Barnegat Light.
Gary Smith, 61, was a founding member and chief officer of the Lacey Township Dive Team and had been teaching underwater search and recovery for decades, longtime friend Deb Whitcraft said Saturday.
Smith’s group had been diving off the Dina Dee II, a 42-foot charter boat out of Barnegat Light, when the Coast Guard received a call at 8:58 a.m. from a crew member requesting assistance, Coast Guard Petty Officer Crystal Kneen said. Smith was given CPR for 20 minutes but was still not responding when he was taken to Southern Ocean County Hospital in Stafford Township, where he was pronounced dead.
Whitcraft, president of the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History in Beach Haven, said she met Smith in 1971, and he was an instructor then. She said she did not know the details of what happened but struggled to understand how Smith died.
“He was an exceptional diver and an exceptional person,” Whitcraft said. “It’s a loss not only to the diving community but to anyone who’s ever known him. We’re all stunned. We’re just stunned.”
Whitcraft said she was with Smith’s wife, Phyllis, at a museum gala Friday night, when Gary Smith called. He had just completed a search and recovery mission, although Whitcraft did not know the details.
Both Smiths have been active with the museum, Whitcraft said. Smith had worked on the preservation of many of the artifacts.
The couple was working on a Sept. 11 fundraiser, which this year is honoring those lost in the diving community.
“Unfortunately, now we have to add his name to that list,” Whitcraft said.
In addition to founding the Lacey Dive Team, Smith was a member of the Lanoka Harbor Volunteer Fire Company in Lacey Township and was part of the Lacey Township Search & Rescue Team.
“He just gave so much of himself, you just can’t say enough about this man,” Whitcraft said. “We loved him.”
She theorized that maybe he suffered some sort of physical problems when he lost consciousness.
“I find it hard to think it could have been an accident related to his ability as a diver,” Whitcraft said. “He was among the absolute most proficient divers anyone had ever known in the diving community.”
That love was passed on to his son, Gary Jr., who Whitcraft said people call Rabbit.
A nursing supervisor at Southern Ocean County said hospital officials told her she could not provide an identification, hometown or cause of death for the diver because it is “an active accident investigation.”
According to its website, the Dina Dee II is a 42-foot Coast Guard-inspected vessel located at the Light House Marina on Sixth Street in Barnegat Light. A person answering phones there declined to comment, saying it was an ongoing investigation.
Jim Gatto - Chuck Wine - Gene Peterson
Gene Peterson & Chuck Wine
Captain Ray Ettel
Chuck Wine and Ray Ettel
ETTEL, RAYMOND E, 74 - of Manahawkin, Survived By Wife: Carolyn, Married 54 Years; Daughter and Son-in-law, Judith and Steven Frost, of New Jersey Grandchildren; two, Brianna and Layla; And his beloved black Lab BUBBA; Sister and Brother-in-law Lois and John Stroud Nephew Bruce Stroud. Raymond was the Captain and the owner of the White Star Fishing Boat out of Barnegat Light, for many years before retiring. A memorial Service will beat the Thos I. Shinn Funeral Home 10 Hilliard Dr Manahawkin, Saturday March 7 2009, from 12-2PM with a service being held at 2PM Cremation was private
Community loses diving legend
George Purifoy, 63, was a diving legend for wreck dives off the coast of the southern Outer Banks.
BY EREN TATARAGASI
Published: Monday, September 15, 2008 11:10 AM EDT
MOREHEAD CITY — A city native and a pioneer of diving in North Carolina, George Purifoy, 63, died Sunday doing what he loved most.
Mr. Purifoy had a heart attack Sunday evening while out on his boat based at his longtime business, the Olympus Dive Shop on the city’s waterfront.
“I was in absolute shock,” said close friend and county tourism official Carol Lohr, who has known Mr. Purifoy since they met 22 years ago at the first N.C. Seafood Festival, which is based on the waterfront. “He was just a fine person.”
“He did more for diving in North Carolina than anyone I know,” she said.
Mr. Purifoy took his first dive in 1961 and nearly 7,000 dives later he managed to pass his love and passion on to his son Robert and countless numbers of divers.
He is credited for the discovery and identification of numerous shipwrecks off the coast of the southern Outer Banks, most notably the WWII submarine the U-352 and the USS Schurz.
“He was passionate about diving and about discovering new wreck sites,” Mrs. Lohr said. “He met the U-352 survivors and paid for their trip to come here and pay their respects to their fallen comrades.
“He loved North Carolina diving and it was obvious in everything he did,” she continued. “He was a role model for a lot of people.”
Mrs. Lohr said Mr. Purifoy’s son Robert is equally as passionate about diving.
“I think it instilled in Robert his love for the sea. It’s obvious the tradition will continue,” she said.
Mr. Purifoy was well-known in his community because Mrs. Lohr said he wanted to see the Morehead City waterfront develop into a showcase, and he paid attention to civic opportunities.
She said he even offered free trips to writers just to get them offshore.
Mrs. Lohr said Mr. Purifoy wanted to see Morehead City become a destination, and he always kept his dive shop professional.
“He has done so much for the dive community. I just hope he’ll be remembered for his passion and love of dives from the historic aspect,” Mrs. Lohr said. “He knew when he found a wreck what that ship meant to the crew and what it took to preserve and restore it for others to enjoy.
“He will be missed,” she said.
Rick Allen and his wife Cindy Burnham have also known Mr. Purifoy for about 25 years and said in the diving world he is a legend.
“If you’re a wreck diver on the East Coast, you know who he is,” Mr. Allen said. “He was an interesting, unique and funny guy. As a professional he was wonderful, too, because he had safe boats and took us to all of these places.”
Mr. Allen met Mr. Purifoy in 1983 when he went on his first dive.
Mr. Allen and Mrs. Burnham live in Fayetteville and own a home in Morehead City. They come to the coast on the weekends to go dive.
“He will surely be missed because he was a solid fixture,” Mr. Allen said.
Mr. Purifoy, before diving full time was a diesel mechanic by trade and owned a repair shop for nearly 25 years.
In 1975, the introduction of Loran C, the predecessor to GPS, revolutionized the state’s diving industry by enabling boat captains to relocate wreck sites.
Mr. Purifoy began running a small dive business in 1976 with a compressor, rentals,\ and weekend charters aboard the 47-foot, twin-engined Atlantis II.
The business expanded in the late 1970s with the purchase of Olympus I, a 57-foot, wooden-hulled head boat and the addition of Olympus Gym, Morehead City's first fitness center.
The current dive shop was built in 1982 and the 65-foot aluminum-hulled Olympus used today was purchased in 1986.
HONOLULU (AP) — Frank Mundus, the legendary shark fisherman said to have inspired the Captain Quint character in the movie "Jaws," has died. He was 82.
Mundus died Wednesday at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu after a heart attack, his wife said.
It was his second heart attack in four days. He suffered the earlier one Sept. 6 at Kona International Airport after returning from a business trip to New York.
Mundus had a history of heart disease, his wife, Jeanette Mundus, 46, said from their home in Naalehu on the southern tip of the Big Island. He suffered his first heart attack in 1998 and later had quadruple bypass surgery.
Known as the "Monster Man" for the size of the sharks he caught, the gregarious Mundus had an outsized personality nearly as big as his famed boat, the Cricket II.
He forged his reputation as a fearless fisherman in Montauk beginning in 1951, hunting down the world's biggest sharks.
"I had a lot of close calls," he once said. "Probably too many close calls."
In 1964, Mundus used a harpoon to snag a 4,500-pound great white. He later bagged a 17-foot-long, 3,427-pound great white by rod and reel in 1986. He later described the experience to Esquire magazine.
"After you get the fish, you turn around and look at the fish, and you feel sorry for the fish because he's your opponent," Mundus recalled. "I always feel good that I won, but I feel sorry for the one who lost."
On his Web site, Mundus said events from the 1964 catch influenced Peter Benchley, who wrote "Jaws." But Benchley maintained that Quint was a composite character.
The best-selling book was turned into the 1975 film, a blockbuster that left many beachgoers thinking twice about taking a dip in the ocean.
Mundus, who was born in Long Branch, N.J. in 1925, called "Jaws" the "funniest and the stupidest" movie he had ever seen and said he some things in common with Quint such as similar fishing techniques.
Jeanette Mundus said her husband actively promoted shark conservation starting in the 1960s. He pushed the use of less damaging hook varieties that allow fishermen to catch and release the fish.
"A lot of people over the years have thought of him just as a hunter of sharks," Jeanette Mundus said. "But he did try to preserve them."
Mundus retired to Hawaii in 1991 after a lifetime of fishing. He didn't regularly fish for sharks off Hawaii, his wife said.