Monday morning I learned that journalist and photographer Don Sutherland has died.  I had lunch with him just two months ago.  I met him at the 2008 Waterford Tugboat Roundup.  In person he proved even funnier and wiser than the persona in his articles.  I had read lots of his articles and admired his photos–and always chuckled AND learned.  Click here for Don’s Poling & Cutler article in the February 2007 Marine News, one of the first of his articles I read.

In March I introduced him to my good friend Bowsprite, and he told of his sitting shiva with the 1924-launched New York Central No. 16 on the night before it was dismembered by scrappers to make way for  . . . . a CVS!  After 20 years as a monument near a traffic circle in Bourne, Massachusetts,  the tug could not be saved;  efforts to raise adequate funds had failed.  In Don’s words, “I had no choice but to spend the last night sitting inside the boat before the scrapping because it should not have to be alone that night.”  Don would feel that.    Here’s a story about No. 16 and its fate.

At the September 2009 Tugboat Roundup, I introduced him to my partner Elizabeth, who doesn’t always take part in my waterblogging efforts.  As a sociologist, she studies and writes about gender and sex.  She and Don got along famously;  a tidbit of the evening Elizabeth’s learning from Don that the truckable tug Mame Faye was named for a Troy madame.   Don knew details like that.

On his website, see examples of his great photos and even there his wit bubbles to the surface:  complementing “our most frequently-published tugboat picture” was “our least-frequently published …”  Don was like that.

At this link (fourth photo from the bottom) see Don atop Fred Tug44’s boat doing what he loved.

If you have a favorite Don Sutherland story, please leave a comment.

Don, you are already missed.

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