Industry mourns Gougeon Brothers co-founder Meade Gougeon

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Meade Gougeon

Meade A. Gougeon, one of three founders of Gougeon Brothers Inc., died Aug. 27 at his home. He was 78.

He founded Gougeon Brothers with his siblings Jan and Joel in 1969. The employee-owned, ISO-9001 registered company is best known for its West System and Pro-Set epoxies.

The brothers pioneered the use of epoxy in boat construction and repair, starting with building DN class iceboats with wood and epoxy. Initially they were allowed to work at Dow Chemical’s laboratories to develop an epoxy that could be used for coating and bonding.

In 1971 Meade Gougeon launched the first large all-epoxy bonded and sealed wooden boat built without the use of fasteners — the trimaran sailboat Adagio. The boat is still sailing on the Great Lakes, having won the Bayview Mackinac Race in its division in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2016 and 2017.

NASA’s Wind Energy Product Office had Gougeon Brothers manufacture epoxy-laminated wood specimens for testing the strength of an epoxy bond between a threaded steel rod and a laminated wood specimen. In 1979 Meade Gougeon wrote The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction, a guide that details composite construction techniques for building boats with wood and epoxy.

Meade Gougeon was known as an avid multihull sailor, ice boater and cyclist. Aboard the outrigger canoes Voyager and Elderly Care, respectively, he placed first in class in the 300-mile Everglades Challenge in 2014 and 2017. He won the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association U.S. Championship in 1981 and 1997. With his brother Jan, Meade was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2015.

Active in his community, Meade Gougeon served on the Delta College Board of Trustees, the Kantzler Foundation Board of Trustees, the Bay Arenac Community High School Board of Directors and the Bay County Library System Board of Trustees. In 2015 he received the Peggy Rowley Community Enrichment Award at the Bay Area Community Foundation’s Faces of Philanthropy event.

Meade Gougeon is survived by his wife of 46 years, Janet, and their children and spouses; Glenn Kirkland; Anne Michelle and Rand Mortensen; M. Ryan and Janice Gougeon; Benjamin and Logan Gougeon; Renee and Alan Gurski; Mia and Kwafo Adarkwa; Jae Gougeon; and Laura Gougeon, as well as 14 grandchildren. He is survived by his brother Joel. Jan Gougeon is deceased.

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