Tommy talking to a class at the great Lakes Boat Building School

Tommy ..far left…talking to a class at the great Lakes Boat Building School

Late yesterday we received this note from The Great Lakes Boat Building School and E. James Mertaugh family regarding a new scholarship in the name of Tommy Mertaugh who sudden death was reported on last week. If you are planing on making any donation in memory of Tommy, we here at Woody Boater can not imagine a more perfect way to support the future of the passion in a name that has stood for love, passion and humble talent. The world needs more Tommy Mertaughs.

Boats being built at the school.

Boats being built at the school.

The Thomas “Tommy” Mertaugh Memorial Scholarship Fund at GLBBS

The E. James Mertaugh Family has announced the formation of a scholarship fund for The Great Lakes Boat Building School in special memory of their beloved son and brother, Thomas N. Mertaugh, best known to the world of wooden boat enthusiasts as “Tommy”.  It is the family’s preference that the monies be used to assist second-year students who are truly dedicated to becoming highly skilled builders, restorers, and finishers in the wooden boat trade.  This is as it should be since no one set the bar any higher than Tommy when it came to perfectionism in the industry.

Tommy’s death on October 8th at only 47 years of age, stunned the wooden boating world.  His grandfather, Eugene J. Mertaugh, founded the first Chris-Craft dealership in the country in 1924 in the town of Hessel, in Michigan’s Les Cheneaux Islands, with the boat works operating within the family through the next two generations.  In 2000, Tommy and his father, Jim, and brother, Dan, created Classic and Antique Boats, with Tommy administrating the business.  It became known as one of the finest restoration shops in the country, with its boats winning top prizes everywhere.

Tommy dedicated his life to saving the beauty and mystique of wooden boats for posterity; thus this scholarship is most appropriate.  In the event that a substantial amount of contributions is received in his memory, an endowment fund will be established through the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation to guarantee the perpetuation of Tommy’s dream and to retain the Mertaugh name in boating for generations to come.

Contributions may be paid to the order of Les Cheneaux Community Foundation, designating “The Thomas“Tommy” Mertaugh Memorial Scholarship Fund at GLBBS”, and mailed to:

Les Cheneaux Community Foundation
P.O. Box 249
Cedarville, Michigan  49719   

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9 Responses to “Tommy Mertaugh Memorial Scholarship Fund At The Great Lakes Boat Building School.”
  1. JFunk

    The GLBBS is indeed a worthy recipient of Tommy’s memorial fund. They offer a great program preparing those who desire to further their education in boat building and restoration. The ACBS has supported them for years via our own scholarhsip fund. Thanks to all who were involved in this.

    J Funk
    ACBS Scholarship Chair

  2. Paul H.

    This is great! There always students in need of help, and all the better if our community can somehow make the achievement of a long-term career a reality for a talented and motivated young student. We need to make sure more people with Tommy’s skills and passion can get started, and this is a significant contribution to that effort. Thank you to all involved.

  3. Alex

    I wrote an article about the Great Lakes Boat Building School in this month’s (October’s) Lakeland Boating Magazine. If anyone is interested in learning more about what they do, you can click here:

    http://issuu.com/lakelandboating/docs/lboct2013dig

    The article is on magazine pages 35-37. Online, it appears on pp 37-39. It’s an interesting read.

    The Tommy scholarship is a great idea. I hope the School will look at the character and personality of candidates, in addition to their skill-set. Because it was the combination of those qualities that made Tommy exceptional.

  4. cobourg kid

    To my surprise the Great Lakes Boat Building School folks had a large display set up at last summer’s Toronto ACBS Boat Show in Gravenhurst Ontario. As usual I peppered the school’s reps with plenty of questions and came away extremely impressed. Not only by the school’s innovative curriculum and its students high quality work (they had a magnificent dory on display for inspection ) more then anything I was astounded by the ingenuity of the Les Cheneaux Community for having the insight to see the need for such a school and the fortitude to make it happen!. Glad to see Tommy’s legacy living on in such a great institution , BTW Alex I read your article and it was buoyant!

    • Alex

      Thanks CK. The people I interviewed there were just great. It was a pleasure making their acquaintance.

      My kids and I are going to build a small boat there next year — a cocktail class raceboat. (With extra gimbal cocktail holders for Dad.)

  5. Carla from Hagerty

    Tommy was not only a legend to us Michiganders, but his artistry touched many. Hagerty is a proud sponsor of GLBBS!