Marvin J.E. Stone|
Marvin John Erickson was born on October 12, 1927 in Seattle, the son of Edward Erickson, a 40 year old laborer at a shingle mill, and his wife Ruth (Moen), 33, both immigrants from Norway. Edward had been with an Observation Balloon regiment in WWI, and had serious health problems as a result of exposure to mustard gas. He died in January, 1935. Marvin was seven.
In April his mother re-married. Marv's new stepfather was a sturdy merchant seaman named John Johnson Stone. John had served in the North Atlantic aboard troop carriers and ammunition ships. At the war's end he carried coffins back to the states. By 1940 John had a master's license for vessels of unlimited tonnage, but after several jobs settled into a career as a commercial fisherman.
The family moved to Bellingham, WA. Marvin was employed by Bornstein Seafood evenings and weekends while attending Bellingham High School. He was not a good student, struggled with English and Math, but excelled in architectural drawing and wood shop. Marvin worked with John in Alaska during the summer on wooden sailboats in Bristol Bay, pulling linen gillnets aboard by hand.
Marvin changed his last name to Stone prior to enlisting in the US Marine Corps. After basic training at Camp Pendleton, PFC Stone served as a radioman and was trained in close air support for the infantry. He was stationed at El Toro Airbase in the immediate post-war era of early Grumman jet aircraft.
He received his High School GED after he returned to civilian life in 1947. He started fishing again with his dad on the FV Gem, a 52-foot wooden dragger operating off the west coast for groundfish. He was a member of the International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America (Otter Trawlers Union) until 1951.
He met and soon fell in love with Barbara Ann Clein after a chance meeting at a local dance. They were married January 30, 1953 and were a wonderful couple for 62 years. Their first son Mike was born in 1956 in Seattle. The Stones moved to California, as Marvin and his father fished for Albacore off the coast. Their second son, Mark, was born in 1959 in Lakewood, California. By the mid 1960's the family was back in Seattle where Marvin fished for salmon and tuna. He worked as a carpenter in the winter months, often with his good friend John Conley. They enjoyed living in Lynnwood and later Edmonds, spending time with Barbara's many brothers and sisters, friends, and neighbors.
By the late sixties FV Gem was operating as a gillnetter and troller. Marv had formed strong friendships with other fishermen, especially Stan Hovik and Arnold Reinholdtsen, who also grew up working with their fathers aboard small boats. Soon Marvin with the Gem and Stan with the Supreme (and later Oceanus) were fishing together as a team, with their sons as the crewmen. As fishermen aboard the tiny American trollers they were amazed by the frequent sight of modern Soviet and Japanese trawl fleets operating just offshore, their lights appearing like small cities at night. Marv believed that someday US fishermen would have large trawlers like these.
Aware of the emerging King crab fishery in Alaska and hoping to participate, an alliance of three families was formed when Stan Hovik, Marvin Stone, and Einar Pedersen, a respected fisherman already established in the crab industry, joined forces to build the 110-foot Nordic Fury, launched in 1972. By sheer strength of will and a measure of good fortune the captains and crews were successful and soon the Pacific Fury (1974) and larger Ocean Fury (1977) joined the ranks of the fleet. It was a solid partnership with each man bringing unique talents and qualities to the team. The Fury Group continued to prosper, investing in new enterprises.
Strong proponents of the Americanization of the US fisheries, Marvin and his partners were innovative entrepreneurs with great foresight. They purchased the retired WWII Navy tanker Patapsco (AOG-1) in 1979. After partnering with joint-venture fisheries pioneer Dr. Wally Pereyra of ProFish International and Korean seafood company Oyang Fisheries, they converted her into the 334-foot factory trawler Arctic Storm. Fury Group took calculated risks to develop opportunities for harvesting Alaska Pollock and Pacific whiting, converting two of their crabbers to midwater trawlers in 1982.
Marvin always believed that in order for a company to truly be successful, it must attract the best and brightest individuals. He was fortunate to work with some of the most brilliant people in the fishing industry. Although retired as a skipper in 1992, Marvin continued to be an active shareholder in motherships Ocean Phoenix and Excellence, factory trawlers Arctic Storm and Arctic Fjord, catcher boats Neahkahnie, Sea Storm, and the Fury Group fleet. He was a disciplined investor, active in trading in the stock market well into his 80's.
Throughout his life Marv loved the outdoors. As a young man he camped and hunted deer, including trips into the Yellowstone area with pack mules. He was an avid downhill snow skier. Despite spending most of his life at sea, he enjoyed sport fishing for salmon and kept a boat moored near his home in Hansville, WA. He also loved to fish for salmon and steelhead, drifting down the Rouge and the Snake rivers. He fished in the Ho and Sol Duc rivers many times with his two sons and his favorite guide, Craig Hunley. Marvin and Barbara loved music, dancing, dining, and entertaining. Their home was a favorite rendezvous for family and friends, hosting holiday parties and annual family reunions. Marv enjoyed many friendships in the Hansville community and at their winter home in Palm Desert. The couple traveled around the world, including Egypt and the Middle East, Northern Europe, and a memorable trip into Eastern Europe by river boat. Marv took up golf late in life, but played regularly with close friends.
Marvin died on August 5th at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, Washington as a result of heart failure. He is survived by his wife Barbara, his son Mike and wife Tina, and their children, Eric, Nate and Gianna, his son Mark, wife Joy, and their daughters Mary, Jane, and Jazz.
Marv will be remembered as a man that epitomized the American dream: to work hard, join with like-minded people in business, and provide a good life for their families. In his lifetime he witnessed the evolution of the Alaskan fisheries from sailboats to factory trawlers. Marvin Stone continues to be an inspiration for the next generation.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to: Fishermen's Memorial Scholarship Fund (in memory of Marvin Stone) PO Box 17356 Seattle, WA 98127.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 18, 2013