There are big holes in today’s Gloucester’s Schooner Festival – Remembering Fred and Kay –

Karen Pischke writes-

Fred Bodin –  “It’s been just a year since Fred Bodin passed. A man that often seemed larger than life. I am thinking about him today, not just because it’s near the anniversary of his passing. But also because it’s a weekend he’d be such a part of – Block Party and Schooner Festival.

I can’t walk or drive down main street without thinking about him. Fred was a ‘champion’ for other shops on Main street. Always offering a kind word to promote other shops. I remember my first forays into the Olive Oil Shop, The Cave and Pop Gallery were after Fred recommended them. Every time I pass by Bodin Historic Photos storefront, I pause and gaze into the store front window. Memories flash in my mind – Good Morning Gloucester mug ups, GMG Christmas parties, Fred’s smile, his laughter, his dry humor, and his amazing historic photos of Gloucester and Schooners. 

After we moved to Gloucester, ‘Coastal Schooner’ was one of our first purchases for our first home. Recently, we were at a friend’s home for dinner recently and I noticed Fred’s ‘Dogtown’ hanging on their wall. The photo was taken at about the same spot where their home now stands. I wondered, how many people in Gloucester have a piece of Fred’s artwork hanging on their wall?

Fred helped me (reluctantly) get started on Facebook. I’m still not sure if that is a blessing or a curse, but what I am sure of is how Fred generously gave of his time to show me some of the ‘ins and outs’ of Facebook. Whenever I upload photos, change the resolution or add a watermark, I think of Fred. He was a pro at conversation and connecting with people. Whether through Facebook, parties or walking into his shop, Fred always had something fun and interesting to share. 

Kay Ellis – Gloucester recently lost Kay Ellis, a woman known and loved by many. This year’s Schooner Festival is dedicated to Kay. Kay and her husband Tom were the visionaries behind the revival of double masted Schooners sailing through Gloucester’s Harbor. I was living in Beverly when the Lannon was built by Harold Burnham. On many weekends, my husband and I would drive or ride bikes to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum to watch its progress. We were there the morning of its launch.

The Thomas E. Lannon began the present wave of double-masted schooners on Gloucester and Salem Harbors. Then came the Ardelle, and Fame. With the Adventure sailing once again, standing on the shores of Gloucester with these majestic ships sailing by feels a bit like traveling back through time. Beautiful white sails billowing on the horizon, tacking back and forth with a boatload of locals and tourists. All enjoying beautiful views of Gloucester, sunsets and the peacefulness of sailing. 

I first met Kay through the Chamber of Commerce holiday parties, always enjoying our conversations. I especially loved Kay’s stories about family, and ski trips out west. The Lannon hosted the Chamber’s Businesswomen’s event. One year I took a group of my students, as a special ‘field trip. Little did I know then, that would be my last sail with Kay.

What I will always remember of Kay is her her smile, her love of family, and her ‘spirit of adventure.’ Her love of education and music were brought on-board the Lannon, incorporating both in fun, memorable and enduring ways. The Kay Ellis Scholarship Fund just one of Kay’s many legacies. Music on the Lannon another. Micael O’Leary’s celtic music and singing, Allen Estes’ guitar, and Laura Ritchie’s accordion playing on the Lannon will forever play for Kay. Kay’s smile shining from the heavens, shining her ‘light and love’ upon the Lannon, the people she loved, and the harbor she sailed so often.

Both Fred and Kay loved Gloucester, the city they worked and played in, and Gloucester loved them. 

Gloucester is missing Fred and Kay. Especially today, at Schooner Fest.        

Karen Pischke

Gloucester, MA


  • Amen ~ I like to think they were there ~ somewhere over the rainbow ~

    Liked by 1 person

  • Karen: so beautifully written. Missing Fred everyday and every time I see the beautiful Lannon Kay is there. She was so good and always treated everyone on The Lannon as a very special guest. Thank you for the lovely tribute

    Liked by 1 person

  • Like you, I think of Fred often especially when we are visiting Gloucester and go by his shop. We have several prints and many mugs and pottery from Bodin Historic Photo. So, Fred remains in our lives on a daily basis. He was an ambassador for Gloucester and I miss him! I never had the pleasure of meeting Kay Ellis but wish I had. You wrote a very nice tribute to both Kay and Fred. Thank you for sharing your memories!

    Liked by 1 person

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