Memorial service slated for Robert Douglas ‘Captain Bob’ Wilson
Robert Douglas “Captain Bob” Wilson set sail on his final voyage on June 29, 2015, from Costa Rica, where he is buried at the Cementerio Municipal de Liberia.
Wilson was born in Modesto, California, on Jan. 21, 1941 to Rudoph Wilson and Margaret Mckinley Wilson, both deceased.
He lived in Little River, CA, since 1994. Previously, he lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon; Tacoma, Washington; Elk, California; Sausalito, California; Lahaina, Hawaii; and Friday Harbor, Washington.
He sailed both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, on one occasion traveling from Portland, Maine through the Panama Canal and eventually home to Noyo Harbor.
Wilson built his first boat at the age of 11, a single-master he named “I.M.P.,” or invisibly motivated pram. He learned boat building and carpentry from his father and his grandfather, who both owned shipyards in Portland, Oregon.
He started out in the marine insurance business as a young man but went on to become an expert sailor, navigator and captain. He was a master carpenter who supervised the restoration of a four-masted ship and museum, The Falls of Clyde, moored in Honolulu.
He owned numerous vessels after I.M.P., including the Valhalla, Sea Runner, Brass Dolphin, Lahaina Pilot, Pupulakai and Zephyr. He also enjoyed piloting his own plane.
In his youth, he made the surprising transition from being voted “Portland’s Young Man of the Year” by the Republican Party to becoming one of the Merry Pranksters and a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He left his corporate job, grew his hair and became the manager of the Ph. Factor Jug Band.
He continued to work in the music business throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the Native American takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1970, he helped run supplies to the resistance.
Wilson ran a successful rescue and salvage operation in Lahaina and was a volunteer for the Lahaina Bar Pilots. He ran a charter sail and scuba diving operation in Lahaina and a sail-making and canvas business.
He was the fire chief of Friday Harbor and later was actively involved in the Albion Volunteer Fire Department. He also owned and operated Empress Seafood in Noyo Harbor, and he designed and built a magnificent home overlooking the Albion River.
He led a rich and eventful life, and he loved telling stories about it. He remained curious, inventive and extraordinarily energetic in his pursuit of adventure. He is loved by many and will be long remembered for his great love of life and wonderful sense of humor.
Preceded in death by his brother, William Wilson, Bob is survived by his sisters, Carol Pesek and Sandra Wilson; daughters, Kimberly Deneris (George), Karin Wilson, Cory Gottlieb Campbell (Howard); and grandchildren Max, Miles and Anthea Deneris, and Ailani and Zaia Campbell.
His memorial will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, aboard Billy Martinelli’s schooner Gaslight. The group will cast off from the pier at 1 p.m. in Sausalito. For information, visit www.gaslightcharters.com.