Sad Breaking News – 2010 Woody Boater Of The Year Herb Pocklington Passes Away!

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Herb looking out to sea! What a perfect image of a fantastic guy!

We got word that long time fellow Woody Boater and winner of the 2010 Woody Boater of the year, Herb Pocklington has passed away down at his home in Florida. Herb was part of a team of folks that ran Chris-Craft back in the day. More on that later in the story. The real memory of Herb is his charm and he never stopped growing.


Herb back in the dapper days. I love this shot. Mrs Pickell was Herbs assistant, and Lori Pastic is one the top Chris Craft models ever.

Staying young later in his years when others retire to shuffle board and golf carts. Herbs latest passion was working with his wife Carol Jose has been long active in wounded warrior projects.

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Herb at Dinner in Algonac in 2010

We here at Woody Boater are fortunate enough to have worked with Herb on the Statue project in Algonac Michigan of Christopher Smith and Gar Wood years back, and he was a force to matched. Watching at the dedication was inspiring as a fellow marketer, he still had the passion and drive of a 20 year old. I was also fortunate to go have dinner with him and to say he was a charming and entertaining man is an understatement.

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Herb still working the crowd, here he is introducing others to one of Gar Woods family and Chris Smith under the tent. He was still doing what he has done his entire life. Putting others first.

herb smith kid

Even at the dedication one of the I think Smith kids, came up and Herb gave him the mike. That was Herb

It’s no surprise that we was a huge part of the worldwide growth of Chris – Craft.  Dang, this is hard to write. He was an amazing guy. I know he touch many, but he had the ability to make even a stranger like me feel like a life long friend. I won’t go on and on, and I could… so Below is a wonderful bio from Paul Pletcher of the Chris Craft Club and Commander Forum from 2009.

That’s Herb speaking in Italy. Just like the sign says

Born in Algonac, Michigan, Herb Pocklington has over 50 years experience in boat-building and business management. He began as a factory worker unloading boxcars at the nearby Chris-Craft Corporation. During World War II, he enlisted in the armed services, married, and completed a one- year chemical engineering army program while serving his country.
He began his business career immediately after cessation of hostilities and later served Chris Craft as a buyer, Public Relations Director, Advertising Mgr., Director of Product Planning & Styling, and as CEO of international operations, residing in Switzerland.

His overseas management experience includes service as Chairman & CEO of Chris-Craft S.A. (Switzerland) and Chris-Craft Italia. He traveled to 66 countries and established manufacturing operations in Australia, Chile, Italy, Netherlands & Uruguay.

Herb retired in 1992 as President of Hatteras International, a multinational company and the worlds largest builder of large, luxury Motor Yachts.
After retiring from business, he became Chairman of the INTERPLANA Consulting Group, comprised of six former international CEOs and executives.

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Herb recently spoke at the Antique Boat Center


He has served without pay as a volunteer consultant in the former Soviet Union, assisting with reorganization of different firms in the fields of communications, ship- building and repair, import-export, business consulting, agriculture, finance, and pharmaceuticals.
And he has assisted with reorganization of one of the former Soviet Unions largest shipbuilding yards in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on the Black Sea, and has also participated in the re-structuring of Pharmacia, a large Pharmaceutical chain in the same region.

In April 2005, while embedded with of the US 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, he assisted Civil Affairs officers with democratization programs in meetings with Iraqi leaders.

Herb currently resides in Merrit Island, Florida.


I might add, Herb is a gentleman and delightful guy, willing to talk with a stranger, and having an infectious positive outlook on life.



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Thanks Herb for all you have done for all of us and the culture of boating! You will be missed in person, but never in our hearts.


14 replies
  1. Gail Turner
    Gail Turner says:

    What a fine gentleman Herb was. I had the honor of working with him when he spoke at the 2010 ACBS Annual Meeting in Bay Harbor, Michigan. We also were able to visit at the Algonac dedication and most recently it was such a pleasure to speak with him when he was at the Sunnyland Show in Tavares this past March. He was a wonderful ambassador for classic boating and was genuinely interested in the people and the stories of their boats. He had a wealth of information and stories he was always willing to share. We have lost a treasure but he will be remembered with great respect through the years. Our heartfelt sympathies go to his family.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    A life well-lived. When I read about people like this, I feel gratitude. I’m sure many people who knew Herb share that feeling.

  3. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    I received a note this afternoon while out and about that Herb was fading quickly. I was saddened, but just this quickly to hear of his passing is overwhelming news. I got to visit with him briefly this past March at the Sunnyland Boat Festival. He came primarily to speak to members of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Saturday afternoon, but arrived a bit late to do so.

    What a great gentleman, citizen, businessman, ambassador, and inspiration. The avocation of classic boating has lost one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. We will miss him dearly.

  4. Texx
    Texx says:

    Herb Pocklington will be missed by many. He was a fine individual – a visionary.

    Below – Don Ayers from the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club presents Herb with a Lifetime Membership during the 2013 Sunnyland Boat Festival. – Texx

  5. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Way to much to say in this forum, but Herb was an incredible person in all aspects, particularly as it related to our boating hobby. I last visited with he and his wife at the CC Rendezvous last summer. Originally met him in 2008 when we talked him into coming to Seattle to speak at an ACBS symposium. I think that event brought him back to boating as he realized how pivotal Chris Craft was, and still is in this arena. We will miss him. My prayers and thoughts are with his family. God bless.

  6. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Herb in 2010 as the chairman of our Algonac show. We interfaced quite a bit in a effort to tie the show events to the Legends of Algonac statue dedication ceremonies. He was great to work with and a true gentleman. I invited him back to our shows for at least two years, but he was never able to make it. I am truly saddened by his passing, and that I was not able to see him again. The classic boating world has lost another of the great ones!

  7. John A Gambill
    John A Gambill says:

    Just what do we do, really, what do we do when the Herb’s of this world are all gone. They truly are as Tom would say, the Greatest Generation. Men of such crust are few and very far between these days. Kind of frightening when you think about it, loosing the Greatest Generation we will ever know in this world.

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      You are so right John. The era of starting out in the mail room and working your way up through the organization and learning all the nuances of the company have long past as our university system and business culture has put more emphasis on their so called better plan, theoretical knowledge (versus on the job training). As a product of the “Herb” model with a side trip to tech school, I compare my starting experience with my son’s university degree and see a huge gap in his starting knowledge versus what I got in half the time and more focused training and exposure to the nuts and bolts of the organization that he won’t get to see based on the new model.

  8. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    What a shock !..I fortuetously had the pleasure of being seated with Herb and Carol at the Saturday night dinner at this year’s Sunnyland show. We had a delightful conversation with Carol interpeting for Herb, who like me, was a tad hard of hearing. Even so we ole timers really enjoyed reliving our youth. He was a big help to me when I was managing trhe Chris Craft Club and I’ll never forget that Herb was always willing to offer helpful advice
    It was an honor to share the podium with him when we were both inducted at the first Honorary Members of the Chris Craft Club. We’ll miss him

  9. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Another hit to our community that is for sure. I heard recently that Herb was in Tavares this year, but I was not aware of it while there. I would have felt blessed to have met him.

    All the best to those who are closest.


  10. Bryant Phillips
    Bryant Phillips says:

    As a young marketing professional for Hatteras Yachts in the ’80’s, I had the privilege of working with and for Herb. He was a marketing extraordinaire, creatively quirky, a true corporate professional and could be personally intimidating when he chose to be. He was always engaging, his stories spellbinding, and he poorly hid a discreet, wry smile that suggested he knew the answer to the riddle that confused us all. An antique flintlock pistol was displayed laying on his desk which, I noticed, was occasionally pointed at the individual across from him during meetings that were of stategic importance regarding his position on a matter. And his management philosophy was spelled out in a sign posted on his office door: “When bringing me a problem, always bring two solutions and I will, most likely, accept one of them.” He was, indeed, a unique man, the consummate professional and, to me, a caring professional mentor to a wet-behind-the-ears Marketing Manager unversed in the nuances of the international market. I will miss him.

  11. Carol Jose Pocklington
    Carol Jose Pocklington says:

    Thank you all for this beautiful tribute and celebration of my husband Herb’Pocklington’s life. He was indeed a brilliant, wonderful man and husband, and my grief at his loss is beyond imagining. Herb loved his work, and his boating career. Our time together was shortened by his serious injuries from his time in Iraq, but at 88 he was still a tall, brave and stalwart man, who never complained or blamed. What time we had together as husband and wife was wonderful, we loved each other deeply, and I am grateful for having had him as a keystone in my life. Herb passed away at home in our condo in Melbourne Beach, Florida, quietly and surrounded with love. I was with him, as was his eldest son Steve, and my son Mike, when he slipped away. We plan to take Herb’s remains home to Algonac, Michigan in late June, where we’ll hopefully fulfill his request for, in his words: “”a final drive-by in an antique classic Chris-Craft on the St. Clair River, past my beloved statues of Chris Smith and Gar Wood.” He requested his final resting place to be with his parents and siblings who predeceased him and are buried there. He has indeed earned a long and peaceful rest, and may God bless him with that. Bless you Woody Boaters, too.
    Warm thanks from my broken heart. You made me smile tonight. I’m grateful for that. Carol, Herb’s wife.

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