Industry mourns Essex Boat Works owner

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Longtime Essex Boat Works owner C. Stuart Ingersoll of Essex, Conn., died March 15 peacefully surrounded by friends and family. He was 85.

Born in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., on Oct. 26, 1931, “Stu” Ingersoll lived a full and enriching life.

He attended Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University, graduating in 1953. He served in the Army before beginning his first career at Bankers Trust Co. in New York, according to an emailed obituary from son Charles Ingersoll Jr.

Ingersoll then decided to follow his passion and love of the water by leaving the banking world in 1960, taking his wife, Jane Fair, and buying Essex Boat Works in Connecticut. He spent 37 years running the business.

He also was involved with the Connecticut Maritime Trades and the American Boat Builders and Repairs Association.

He was chairman of the Essex Zoning Board of Appeals and an active member of the Essex Rotary Club and the Essex, Corinthian, Pettipaug and New York yacht clubs.

Ingersoll’s greatest passions were Dixieland music, boating and gardening. In his youth he sailed in many regattas, his favorite being the Bermuda Race.

He combined his love of boating and music by cruising the East Coast with his family and friends on his beloved oyster boat, Flora. He generously invited many to come aboard and join in the singing and playing of instruments that included a piano that was bolted onto the boat’s deck.

When not playing music on his boat, he was a member of the Corinthian Jazz Band, the Old Lyme Town Band, the Essex Banjo Rally, the Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival and the Essex Winter Series.

He is survived by his three children and daughter-in-law: Charlie and Honor Ingersoll of Chevy Chase, Md.; Pam Ingersoll of Lyme, Conn.; and John Ingersoll of Essex, Conn.  Also surviving are four grandchildren: India, Mary Wilder, Owen and Kyle.

A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex on May 5 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Lower Connecticut Nurses Association in Centerbrook or the Essex Winter Series would be appreciated.

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