Runyon Colie, Jr.
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AGE: 98 • Mantoloking
Runyon Colie Jr., age 98, passed away peacefully on June 26 at home, with his family by his side. Runnie, the oldest of 4 children, was born in New York City in 1916 to Louise Huntington Edgar and Runyon Colie. He was married to Lois Elizabeth "Betsy" Allen Colie for 65 years. Betsy predeceased him in December, 2013. Raised in South Orange, NJ, Runnie grew up sailing on Barnegat Bay out of Mantoloking Yacht Club, where his parents first met. His mother, herself a champion sailor, taught him to sail at an early age. He won his first Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association (BBYRA) Championship in 1934 in his Sneakbox, Doon. A life-long competitive sailor, Runnie was inducted the ICSA Collegiate Sailing Hall of Fame, the Barnegat Bay Sailing Hall of Fame in 2004, and the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2013, the first amateur sailor to be so honored. In 1989, Runnie was recipient of the W. Van Alan Clark Jr trophy, presented annually by the United States Yacht Racing Union to the American (USYRU) sailor who best exemplifies the ideal and tradition of good sportsmanship. He was selected as the Olympic 5.5 Meter Alternate in 1960 and also won the O. G. Dale Memorial Trophy twice in recognition of his "Outstanding Sportsmanship in the Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association." Runnie attended both Dartmouth College and MIT, earning a degree in naval architecture. While sailing for MIT, Colie won an unprecedented three Collegiate National Championships. After graduation, he served as a lieutenant commander in the Navy for five years during WWII. For the majority of his life Colie was employed by the William H. Clausen Company as a salesman. Following the war he competed in the Penguin Dinghy class, winning seven international titles, four of them with Betsy crewing. The boat he most enjoyed racing was the E-Scow, winning the Eastern Championships seven times and becoming the first easterner to win the National Championship. Colie narrowly missed an eighth championship at age 78. He was also an original member of the Bildgeboarders Organization, which he held dear to his heart. In his later years, Runnie worked hard to support and mentor young sailors everywhere. He helped found and run the Carl Van Duyne Advanced Racing Clinic. When he wasn't racing, Colie was also a USYRU judge. Always competitive, Colie was on his high school ice hockey team and played lacrosse for MIT. In addition to sailing, Runnie loved learning, reading, and a good game of poker. He was a great story teller, recounting events with astonishing accuracy. He will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his children Dev Colie (Ferndale, MI), Lea Colie Wight and husband Richard (Manasquan, NJ), Ann Colie Lewis and husband Steven (West Suffield, CT), Henry Butler Allen Colie and wife Barbara (Summit, NJ), and daughter in law Stephanie Carr Colie (Roscommon, MI), grandchildren Richard Colie, Stuart Colie, Nathan Wight, David Wight, Jackie Lewis Calvo, Tara Wight, Shane Lewis, Runyon Lewis and great grandchildren Kaylee Ann Wight and Robert Runyon Calvo. Runnie is also survived by his brother, Christopher West Colie, and is pre-deceased by his sister Louise Colie Perry and brother Stuart Edgar Colie.
A memorial service will be held at St. Simons By-The-Sea, Mantoloking, NJ on August 3rd at 12 noon. The reception and celebration of his life will follow immediately at Mantoloking Yacht Club. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a gift to "Save Barnegat Bay." Arrangements are under the direction of the Barlow & Zimmer Funeral Home, 202 Stockton Street, Hightstown, NJ 08520.
Barlow & Zimmer Funeral Home
202 Stockton St
Hightstown, NJ 08520
Published in Asbury Park Press on July 13, 2014