|December 11 1925 - September 18, 2012?
“I can't think of anything about Lloyd in the 58 years that I had the privilege of knowing him that would not make me smile.
”Bruce Kessler, Zopilote, commented when I asked him about his friendship with Lloyd. “I first met him when he operated a gas station on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in the late 50s. He was truly the best of the best!”
Similar statements were echoed as time after time those who knew Lloyd shared memories of their friendship and their deep admiration for this quiet, unpretentious man.
Born in the mid-20s and growing up during a churning Depression, Wolfe acquired his driver's license at the early age of 13, followed several years later by his enlistment in the Navy where he quickly achieved the rating of Aviation Boatswain's Mate.
LLOYD WOLFE…the best of the best!
Possessed with a strong work ethic which he credited to growing up during the depression, as well as by WW ll, he applied the lessons he had learned mixed with his inherent pleasant nature, to several ventures including a truck stop and later a thriving Los Angeles gas station.
When Captain Bill Poole and Captain Bruce Barnes formed a partnership to construct Marina Cortez in 1969, one of the first tenant projects on the newly developed Harbor Island, they recruited Wolfe to supervise the construction of a new fuel facility a year later in 1970, and when the Cortez Fuel Dock opened, he became the manager.
Along with Wolfe's easy going manner, coupled with his long hours and hard work, Poole’s and Barnes’ contacts with San Diego's growing local and long-range sportfishing fleet, the fuel dock thrived. More and more boats began to use the facility as their primary fuel source. Service with a smile kept them returning.
VHF and land-based marine SSB radio CFD was soon established as the central contact for the growing number of long-range sportfishers and private yachts traveling down the Baja coast and beyond to exchange weather and fishing information. Replacement parts, etc., could be ordered and shipping arranged; messages between owners, captains, crew members and families could be relayed.
By the late seventies a number of prominent yacht sportfishers had taken up residence at Marina Cortez's "B dock", next to the fuel dock. A partial list included: Bruce Kessler, Zopilote; Captain Gene Grimes, Legend; Chuck Bosworth, Conquistador; Paul Corona, Challenge II; Don Weber, Big D; Dick Perlman, Lucky Nell; Kenny Dickerson, El Tigre, and many more.
“The Wolfe-man's open door policy at the Cortez fuel dock was not only the place you went when you had a problem you couldn't solve, but a place you could socialize with legendary captain's and other highliners of that era. I'm sorry for those of you who didn't have the good fortune of knowing him”...Bruce Kessler, Zopilote
Early each morning Lloyd’s office at the top of the fuel dock was the place to be. Sport boat Captains and owners, yacht owners, Captains, deckhands and anglers (among some of the most celebrated names in the local fishing world) wandered in and out casually discussing all things fishing or boating, exchanging ideas, techniques and opinions, accompanied by the noise of the local VHF radio and the single-sideband belching reports and fishing updates from traveling yachts and long-range boats off the west coast of Baja and beyond.
CFD thrived under Lloyd's management and he clearly enjoyed the day-to-day contact with customers, as well as the responsibility. As the business continued to grow, Wolfe installed a stove in his office so his wife, Bennie could prepare his dinner at work each evening.
Rick Motta was hired in 1982. Having no idea what to expect, he recalls how excited he was with prospects of his new job. A relationship that began as employer/employee evolved into teacher/student and became more of a father/son bond by the time Wolfe retired a decade later.
During that decade, Motta learned to admire Wolfe's dedication as he continued to work seven days a week. It was well into the eighties before he finally began to take a few days off.
Thirty-two years later, reflecting on his friendship with Wolfe, Motta commented "He was such a good friend; he understood me better than anyone". He continued, "I will miss him a lot." Rick realizes that in that decade he discovered admiration, respect and a career.
Soon after retirement, Bennie, his wife of more than thirty years passed away. Wolfe continued to rebuild pumps for yachts and Sportfishing boats until the rising cost of replacement parts and the arthritis in his hands prevented him from continuing.
Lloyd and I ran into each other frequently when he was weigh-master for the “For Pete’s Sake” Memorial Marlin Tournament, as well as a number of tournaments in Cabo San Lucas.
When Motta arranged a surprise birthday celebration several years ago at the Portuguese Hall in Point Loma, nearly two hundred friends and well wishers from the sportfishing community attended.
"Lloyd was one of the most selfless men I have ever known. He was always there to help whenever needed and would do whatever it took. I can't ever remember hearing him say a bad word about anyone. The world needs more men like Lloyd, but I’m pretty sure the mold got broke.....or at best a limited edition"…Captain Steve Lassley
The Measure of the man is determined by special memories of kindnesses by his friends and acquaintances and that is the legacy that Lloyd Wolfe left.
Burial will be at sea, where his wife of over 30 years, will scatter his ashes aboard Captain Bob Taft's Top Gun 80 after fishing season. Date to be announced.