Hall of Fame

SANDIFORD BEE
1866 – 1929

Founding Commodore and Charter Member of the James Island Yacht Club in 1898, Mr. Bee, with George and Frank Seabrook, had the first official club boat built by Reynolds Jenkins, his farm superintendent. Unofficially representing James Island, Reynolds sailed for several years at Rockville, on his personal boat, the SWAN, with great success.  Commodore Bee defended the honor of James Island at the annual races at Rockville with the LIZZIE B., a twenty-five foot diamond bottom bateau for several years.  The desire for more speed prompted the same team to build the LIZZIE B. II, a round bottom twenty-five footer; gaff rigged with pointed bow, carrying a bowsprit and a large jib.  Eventually Commodore Bee recognized the need for more uniformity and he wrote to Rudder Magazine about plans for the new inland lake swallow scow.  Thus the LIZZIE B. III was born, along with the MINNIE HA HA of Edisto, UNDINE II of Wadmalaw and the SPRINGBOARD sailed by Manley Sullivan of Sullivan’s Island using the same design plan.  Commodore Bee was succeeded as crew by his son, Stiles, who brought numerous victories to the island before the boat was finally sold in 1924.  Prior to his untimely death on Christmas Eve, 1929, Commodore Bee maintained his interest in competitive sailing with his son, Stiles, sailing the TEAL, loaned to the club by Charles Boykin, a local boat builder. Stiles also assisted in drafting a formal CONSTITUTION with Dr. Dan Ellis and new Commodore Franklin Pearce Seabrook when they reactivated the club in 1934.  Plus they built the original CYGNET.  Commodore Bee’s grandson, Sandy, served as Commodore in 1963 and crewed on the CYGNET II during the late forties, and was skipper in the fifties and early sixties.  In 1969, Fred Wichmann, our Club Historian, recommended permanent recognition be given Commodore Bee and his picture placed in the HALL OF FAME at the James Island Yacht Club.

FRANCIS WALPOLE CLEMENT SR.
1883 – 1942

As a Charter member of the formal organization of the James Island Yacht Club in 1934, he was instrumental in planning and building the original CYGNET.  In addition, Frank actively canvassed the entire community for funds to complete the boat construction, which had been halted due to a lack of material. During his years with the club, he consistently maintained a high interest in club competition and never missed a race while cheering the CYGNET to victory at every opportunity.  Having held all the other offices in the club, Frank was elected to Commodore in 1940, and the club’s By-Laws were set aside in 1941 when he was re-elected.  He held this office until his death in 1942.  At that time, the highest tribute was paid to Frank by setting a page aside in our club minutes.  His family, who avidly followed his interest, continued his legacy.  Frank Jr. was an Associate Member at the formal organization of the club, and subsequently served as Commodore an unprecedented five times.  Also, Frank Jr. established an outstanding record for skippering the CYGNET II in many victories for the island.  In 1969, Club Historian, Fred Wichmann recommended that permanent recognition be given Commodore Clement by placing his picture in the HALL OF FAME at the James Island Yacht Club.

FRANKLIN PIERCE SEABROOK JR.
1881 – 1963

Pictured here in 1903, Frank participated in the founding of the James Island Yacht Club.  Cap’n Frank and his father were cotton planters at their Secessionville Plantation.  While there, he and his Uncle George Robert Seabrook built the first club boat, the LIZZIE B, for Commodore Sandiford Stiles Bee Sr.   The permanent crew for many years consisted of Commodore Bee, Cap’n Frank, Washington Clark “Wash” Seabrook, and Uncle George Seabrook as skipper.  Finally Cap’n Frank assumed command and skippered the club boats to many victories for the island during the ensuing fifteen years.  He was the builder of the first four club boats, including the original CYGNET in 1943.  At this time, he was instrumental in formally organizing the club and drafting a set of By-Laws and the Constitution with the help of Stiles Bee Jr. and Daniel W. Ellis.  Cap’n Frank served as Commodore in 1934 and 1935, plus retained an active interest in the club and sailing for more than fifty years.  In 1954, his valuable contributions were recognized by Commodore William Clyde Easterling, and Cap’n Frank was made an Honorary Life Member of the club.  In 1969, Club Historian, Fred Wichmann, recommended that permanent recognition be given, and a picture of Cap’n Frank with information of his contributions be placed in the HALL OF FAME at the James Island Yacht Club.

RAYMOND F. GRIMBALL
1887 – 1967

Whereas Raymond F. Grimball was a charter member of the James Island Yacht Club and did serve it faithfully for over fifty years and Whereas “Mr. Raymond”, as he was affectionately called, made many lasting contributions to the club.   Examples include the two valuable ship wheels now decorating the interior of the clubhouse as well as other financial and material items.  Whereas his personality and friendly attitude made many otherwise dull meetings come to life with good fellowship, and Whereas all who came to know “Mr. Raymond” benefited from this association now therefore:
Be It Resolved that the James Island Yacht Club, it’s Officers and entire membership, pay honor and tribute to its beloved late member, Raymond F. Grimball, by declaring a page to be set aside in the minutes of the club in Perpetuity.  His picture, with suitable notation, was ordered to be placed in a place of honor in the club by the Board of Directors in 1970.

THOMAS COOPER WELCH SR.
1891 – 1975

Cap’n Tom was a contributing member of the James Island Yacht Club.  His relationship began in the 1920’s when he first assisted in towing the club boat to the annual Rockville Races and subsequently devoted more and more time to the maintenance and care to the popular club owned boat.

After the accidental death of the founding Commodore, Sandiford Bee in 1929, club activities floundered for a few years.  Then in 1934, reorganization was accomplished and a new boat, the CYGNET, was constructed.  This boat was regularly towed to Rockville by Cap’n Tom for the Annual Races.  Also, the CYGNET was stored and maintained by him on his Clark Sound home site, which included a little railway.

During the thirties, forties and fifties, Cap’n Tom was very active in club affairs and almost single-handedly constructed the first dock on the present club grounds in Willapueno Creek in the area of our present launching ramp.
His skill as an outstanding boatman, his keen good judgment and engineering capabilities, and his dedicated helpful hand will long be remembered with his lifetime of contributions to the club and its membership.

Show her with Cap’n Tom is his beloved boat, the MYSTIC, which he salvaged as a wrecked trawler on Kiawah Beach.

Recommended for the HALL OF FAME in 1977, by Club Historian Fred Wichmann

WILLIAM CLYDE EASTERLING
1892 -1962

Pictured here the year before his death, with ever-present cigar, Clyde will be long remembered by all of the club members who knew him.  Clyde and his wife, Ruth made the most important monetary contribution in the Club’s history, when they donated the land of the present club-site in 1955.  In addition to giving this land, Clyde was instrumental in helping build a permanent club house by giving substantially from his own pocket.  Also, he canvassed the community for contributions for this project.  While serving as Commodore in 1954, Clyde instigated recognition of the older founding members and others for their valuable contributions.  During the fifties and up until the time of his death, Clyde usually towed the CYGNET II to Rockville behind his famous yacht, the GIN-GAR.  Invariably the crew racing the club boat would board, sleeping and eating, on the open generosity of Clyde and the GIN-GAR.  Much loved by all, a Page was Set Aside in the Minutes at the time of his death, the highest honor the club had ever paid a member.  His friendly congeniality and sincere interest in the promotion of the club will persist from valuable contributions for many future generations to enjoy.  In 1969, Club Historian Fred Wichmann recommend that permanent recognition be given Clyde by placing his picture and suitable information in the James Island Yacht Club’s HALL OF FAME.

W. BRICE OLIVER
1925 – 1969

Brice was elected to membership in 1966.  He served as Secretary of the club in 1967, as Commodore in 1968, and was primarily instrumental in the origination of the James Island One Design class during the winter of 1968 and spring of 1969.  He personally built the prototype and wrote a rigged set of specifications into this Moth-type boat, which filled the loophole deficiencies of the decadent Moth-class. By virtue of introducing a low budget sailing class boat (less than two hundred dollars complete with sails if personally built), Brice rekindled sailing enthusiasm at the James Island Yacht Club.  This excitement blossomed into nearly a hundred individually owned sailboats, of which nearly forty were JIODs.  The result of this surge of sailing interest eventually boosted membership to close at two hundred and enable the Board of Directors to embark on an ambitious development program.  Although Brice suffered a severe heart attack at the beginning of his administration as was in incapacitated for nearly six months; he did rally and assumed his duties as commodore in time for the Annual Regatta in June.  At the Labor Day Regatta in the fall of 1969, Brice suffered his final heart attack while sailing in his Alpha sailboat.  Prior to the Annual Meeting in 1970, the Board of Directors recommended that a suitable place be made for Brice in the HALL OF FAME.

WILLIAM HENRY SIMMONS JR.
1915 – 1996

The JUDGE joined the James Island Yacht Club at about the time our original site was obtained from Clyde Easterling.  He immediately took an active part in helping complete our first building, the steel Quonset hut.  In addition to his duties as magistrate, Bill was active in the building supply business and assisted in fund raising activities by selling tickets for the various oyster roasts, shrimp boils, blackface jamborees (he also participated in), and helped with occasional dances at the club.  Over the years he developed a tradition of being the Master of Ceremonies at the Annual Meetings when he installed each new slate of Officers.  He was famous for his wry observations and sense of humor that enhanced the affection of the entire membership held for him.  During his term as Commodore in 1965, he led efforts to make our steel hotbox building more livable by adding insulation and paneling.  His long-term commitment to the club was recognized in 1968 when he was made a HONORAYR MEMBER.  The Club Historian’s motion that he be recognized in the HALL OF FAME was approve unanimously by the board of Directors in 1997.

THOMAS C. WELCH JR.
1917 – 1996

Tommy was a member of the group responsible in re-organizing of the club in 1934, and he maintained his consistent interest and support over his lifetime.  During the many years he operated the folly Road Shell Service Station, Tommy never failed to sponsor tickets and ads for any of the yacht club’s functions, and actively helped in putting them on.  In addition to serving as Commodore of the James Island Yacht Club, he was elected Commander of the Charleston Power Squadron and appointed Chief of the Boating Division of the South Carolina Wildlife Department.  In addition to his influence for the club, Tommy touched many live on the Island in many beneficial ways.  A page has been set aside in the club’s minutes and he will be long remembered

DANIEL WORDSWORTH ELLIS, M.D.
1908 – 1987

Dr. Dan maintained a lifetime interest in, and enthusiastic support for the James Island Yacht Club.  Dr. Dan served in all offices, principally as Secretary for many years and as Commodore in 1947.  In 1934, after the club became inactive following founding Commodore Bee’s untimely death in 1929, Dr. Dan called together a meeting as this home to re-activate the club, and undertake construction of a new boat.  Under this group inspired by Dr. Dan, the club revived and entered the original CYGNET in the Rockville Regattas of the thirties, until the races were canceled due to WW II.  After the war, in 1947, Dan was again instrumental in another revival, and construction of another new boat.  Once again he met with a group of the old members at his Folly Road home which was adjacent to Ellis Creek.  During many of these years, Dan stored the club boat in his barn and towed her down to Rockville with his various yachts.  The last being the ORCA, a thirty foot power cruiser obtained from Dr. Bob Luntz at the Bears Bluff Marine Labs.  In 1993, Club Historian Fred Wichmann was able to obtain a suitable picture of Dr. Ellis and recommended he be included in the HALL OF FAME, in permanent recognition of his many lifetime contributions to the James Island Yacht Club.

DANIEL B. ESTEP
1927 – 2002

Dan was born in Central City, Pennsylvania.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served with honor during the Second World War.  He had the distinct honor of being the only American Citizen in the history of Her Majesty’s Navy to drink the ship dry.  Of course, another JIYC member, who shall remain nameless, assisted him
After the War, Dan met and married his sweetheart, Cathy.  Together they raised two beautiful daughters and four sons.  He graduated from USC, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
As a member of the James Island Yacht Club for over 30 years, Dan contributed much of his time to club activities, no task was to big or small – to a point his title should have been “Mr. Volunteer”.  His club activities included: Chairman of the Membership Committee, Recording Secretary, Galley Crew member and an original volunteer Bartender, coffee and doughnut man for the Regattas, responsible for the installation and up keep of the main gate and the originator of our JIYC Annual Golf Tournament.  Outside the club, Dan assisted the community as a nine year volunteer in the Pharmacy Division of the VA Medical Center and as a Camp Happy Days volunteer.
Dan was a true gentleman, and a most valuable and respected member of our club of which he contributed many things.  But above all, we shall miss his humor and smile.
Past Commodore, Robert Townsend made a motion on the floor that a page bearing Daniel Estep’s name be set-aside in the club’s minutes.  Past Commodore, Keith Livermore made a motion the Board approve the entering of Dan Estep to the James Island Yacht Club’s Wall of Fame.

JOSEPH H. FLOYD

After many exciting assignments and being the last man out of Cuba, Captain Joe retired from the US Navy with many decorations.  Then he served the JIYC for many years on the Board of Directors as treasurer.  In 1971, he became Commodore and negotiated the acquissition of the major portion of the land that the club now owns for $40,000 and turned it over to the club for the same amount.  Joe maintained interest in the club for may years, and will always be remembered for his great support and his continuing watch on keeping finances in order.

 

 

Frederick Christopher “Chris” Gehlken

1922 – 2015
Chris was a lover of wood and he worked as a cabinet and furniture maker during his career in the construction and restoration field. One strong love that he always held was that of building and messing around wooden boats. Chris was born on Christmas Day, 1922 to Bertha Daggett Gehlken and Frederick Johann Eide Gehlken and crossed the bar on Thanksgiving Day 2015. He enlisted in the US Navy at the beginning of WWII upon graduating from the High School of Charleston and was attached to the 5th Marine Division as a hospital corpsman during the invasion of Iwo Jima. After his return to Charleston, Chris’s father, Fred, was contracted in 1947 by the JIYC for the construction of the SIOD Cygnet II. During the build, Chris played an instrumental role at his father’s side. Then when the Cygnet II was reacquired by the JIYC in 1985, he once again stepped forth to assist the youthful members in her rebuild. In 1968, to revitalize the waning sailing participation within the club, a small moth style dinghy, the James Island One Design, was conceived. Chris implemented the program and led the building of the first 22 vessels within his garage workshop and had his fingerprints in all of the nearly 40 constructed. Then in 1997, as the club approached its Centennial, he oversaw the refit of one of the few remaining JIODs and masterminded its permanent display within the club. Besides the boats of the club, Chris was also instrumental in the activity, welfare and growth of the Jr. Yacht Club. Chris was awarded an honorary life membership to the JIYC in 1997 and at the January 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors; he was unanimously placed into the HALL OF FAME.