Over the years I've met a lot of wonderful people. Working in the investment business and owning a boat like Southern Comfort has broadened my world more than I've ever expected and meeting people like John Calvert is one of the great perks.
I've enjoyed the company of several notable celebrities and business owners aboard Southern Comfort over the years, and I have been fortunate that I've never encountered the rude, and out of touch Hollywood oversized ego type.
I once had Katie Ross and her daughter aboard Southern Comfort, they were the most enjoyable company, only later did I learn that Katie and her husband David Ross owned the Burger Boat Company, making the most expensive yachts in North America.
But true boaters are like that, unpretentious, always ready to offer advice or a helping hand. Perhaps it's the knowledge that in boating wind and current and mother nature are great equalizers.
So it comes as no surprise that first time I met John Calvert on the docks of the Harbour Town Yacht Basin I'd like him. He gave not a hint as to who he was, as far as I knew he was just another nice person you meet along the docks with a common interest of boating.
What impressed me was that in the 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity that is common on Hilton Head Island during a mid August summer afternoon, John managed to look great. I don't know how he did it.
I once watched him help a fellow boater jump start a small boat while wearing a blue blazer, he didn't think twice about helping the man or getting his hands dirty.
It may have not occurred to me that John was the owner of the marina until our second season running Southern Comfort. He never told me, I just finally put two and two together. John was just that way, he wasn't a name dropper or hubris and he never bragged.
The last time we had the boat in Hilton Head, a few of the Harbour Town Yacht Basin staff and their friends came aboard. John stopped by but had several things to attend to, and promised to return later for a beer.
Life on the water means the day slips by before you know it, especially when we have charter guests aboard. So, we never got around to the beer on that Saturday.
The last visual image I have of John, he is standing aboard a boat named Catawampus on a perfect fall day heading out for a late evening cruise, light blue oxford shirt and khakis he always looked sharp. As they slipped past the stern of Southern Comfort we promised next time we'd have that beer. I'm heart broken to lose a friend, and someone who was a true southern gentleman.
I wish that he would return safely so that we could grab a beer in the fading light of another majestic Hilton Head Island sunset, and we'd talk of boats and travels yet to be charted, of hopes and dreams and of a long life ahead.