Steve Zawistowski

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2000

Homer resident Steve Zawistowski died in his sleep Tuesday, June 20, 2000, at the South Peninsula Hospital. He was 92.

Mr. Zawistowski was admitted to the hospital June 19 after slipping into a coma at his home, Mile 18.5 East End Road, Homer.

He was born Aug. 20, 1907, in Elizabeth, N.J., to Carl and Julia Zawistowski. His parents just immigrated there from Poland. When he was just a baby they traveled by boat to settle in the Columbia River gorge on the Washington side of the Columbia River.

Mr. Zawistowski went to Adak on a sailing vessel in 1928. He worked as a high rigger on sailing vessels for two years on the Aleutians. He gained this ability as a teenager working the woods in Washington on high leads and topping trees.

He moved to Seldovia in 1930 and invested half interest in a silver fox farm on Battle Creek at the head of Kachemak Bay. He worked that for a couple of years, then the fur market collapsed. In 1935, he built his boat, the Normandy, which now resides at the Pratt Museum in Homer.

In 1936, he married Winnie Simpson. He and Winnie trapped for the next 13 winter at Clearwater at the head of the bay and in summers he fished commercially on the Normandy while Winnie worked the canneries. During that time, Steve also had a mail contract between Homer, Seldovia and Port Graham. Many an expectant mother rode his mail boat to the hospital in Seldovia for the birthing of their children.

Mr. Zawistowski was also a charter member of the Bob Hope Classic Golf Club. He worked the classics from 1975 to 1985, winning an award from Bob Hope for the many hours he donated in helping out at the tournaments.

He was a member of the Associated Press for 10 years.

In 1983, four years after the death of his first wife, he married Lorna Kuler, and in 1984 he retired from fishing and moved to Mile 18.5 East End Road, in Homer, where he resided until his death.

After the couple's health started failing in 1995, Stormy Jones came to live with them and help their family take care of them. Stormy continued on, helping to care for Steve after Lorna died in November 1998.

Mr. Zawistowski is survived by sister Lillian, of Oregon; stepchildren, Lary Keeler of Naknek, April Williams of Soldotna, and Ina Jones of Homer; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

He will always be lovingly remembered for his loving manner, his quick wit and his wonderful stories about the early days.

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