Remembering Captain Van
Captain Van, Founder of
Mississippi, November 27, 2007:
Captain Van, 82, passed away this morning with family and
Hospice Ministries at his side. Word from his family
indicates that his passing was peaceful and they rejoice
that he can once again see his wife Lois. Van is
survived by his 3 children: Linda, Steve, and Rick; as
well as numerous grandchildren.
Captain Van, in the 70's, sold and retired from owning and
operating two very successful Ford Motor dealerships. He
then purchased and operated a Popeye's food franchise on
Florida's east coast. Captain Van, a fisherman at heart,
now had time to spend with his second love, the sea (his
first love being Lois for many years).
He started traveling to Belize in
1980 and having such a good time there, involved his
friends and old business associates. They experienced the
great fishing and wanted to share it with their friends.
It just kept going on from there. Van couldn't stop it...
He sold the Popeye's franchise and spent nearly all his
time with Action Belize fishing and travel.
In the last few years, Van was
more content to stay closer to home base in Naples,
Florida. You could find him most anytime chasing
reds and snook in the 10,000 islands of South Florida.
He knew every back bay and had every fish hole mapped in
his head... no GPS needed here! Nobody will ever
know those waters the way he knew them. Even though
he had stepped down from the day to day activities of
Action Belize, he was always checking up on the well being
of the staff and the guests.
Many of you
have a "Van Fishing Story" that needs to be told.
Please take the time to email it to:
Those wishing to
send a card to the family may do so through daughter Linda
901 Audubon Point Drive
Brandon, MS 39047
The family requests that memorials
can be made to Hospice Ministries or the charity of your
RED STIER OF FLORIDA WRITES...
wife and I had the pleasure of knowing and fishing
with Van for many years. We were on his first Action
Belize trip that hosted about 16 guests.
Sharon and I fell in love with Belize and hosted
fishing trips once or twice a year for about 15 years
that spawned many interesting and humorous stories.
Here is one that should go to the top of the list.
Van fine turned his guides, some of them came from
commercial fishing so he had to spend time with them
on rigging, how to act in front of his clients and
other things. Every now and then one of them would
get excited and go a step farther, here is a really
Van met us at the Belize airport and during the ride to the hotel I asked him
how he was doing. I have several anglers here,
yesterday two of them had a slow day he said. They
caught a few fish but one of the other guides brought
in a nicer catch so they asked me if they could switch
guides the next day. He told them he would ask the
other anglers if it would be okay. They said fine
with them and they would switch guides.
Later we were visiting with Van in the hotel lobby
when two anglers walked in. They looked tired. Van
said he better visit with them and see how they made
out. He sat down close enough so we could hear the
conservation. Here is how it played out.
was your day?
Anglers: It was a trip from Hell.
were running across a large bay when all of a sudden
the guide spied a wild hog swimming across the bay.
He decided he had to take it home for dinner. He
pulled up on it, stuck his gaff in it and started to
beat it with a fish club. Blood and water sprayed
everywhere, the motor stalled and we drifted into the
shallow water close enough to the mangroves and the
bugs joined us in full force. By then the guide
had switched to his fishing knife and started to stab
the hog. I looked at my buddy and said we better help
him or we will never have time to fish. We finally
got the hog subdued, the only place we could put it
was on the bow of the boat. Of course we were down
wind from it the rest of the day. Do you have any
idea how bad it smelled after being in the hot sun for
am so sorry, I will refund your money and put you on a
plane in the morning if you want.
hell you will; we also caught several nice size snook
and snapper. We can't wait to see what the guide has
in store for us tomorrow.
"Capt. Van" was a special friend. When you were down
or sick you did not just get a phone call. He was at
your door with, you guessed it, fresh made snook or
redfish salad, a package of crackers and of course
some liquid spirits.
He enjoyed entertaining and cooking for people and was
excellent at it.
I fished with Van regularly in the Florida's Ten
Thousand Islands and to echo John Smith comments about
knowing the islands, he also learned the Belize waters
to the same level.
We miss him and feel blessed with all the memories of
the fishing trips and his friendship.
Red & Sharon Stier
Isles of Capri, FL
in Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS