Jakob Isbrandtsen, of Norwalk CT and Naples FL, died peacefully in Darien on July 13, 2018. He was 96.
Born in Brooklyn in 1922 to the late Gertrude and Hans Isbrandtsen, he graduated from the Brooklyn Friends School and served in the US Coast Guard during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After the war, he went into ship chartering and then joined his father in the shipping business, becoming head of Isbrandtsen Company upon his father's death in 1953. He oversaw the business through the industry's transformation from break-bulk shipping to containerization and the beginnings of fully integrated transportation services in the 1960s. This included merging Isbrandtsen Company with the publicly traded American Export Lines and the development of the Howland Hook Container facility in Staten Island. In the early 1970s, he left American Export Industries and returned to ship chartering and maritime arbitration before his retirement.
In 1953, he moved with his family to Riverside CT. He maintained an eclectic fleet of boats in Greenwich Cove, opening his world to his children and setting few limits beyond the harbor once basic seamanship was in place. His love of the sea and sailing permeated everything he did from ocean racing to boat maintenance. In 1965, when he was Commodore of the Storm Trysail Club, he and Everett Morris launched Block Island Race Week, combining competitive racing with shore activities that fostered lifelong friendships. A bi-annual event, 2017 marked the 27th Block Island Race Week which continues to be a premier regatta in the United States.
Long connected to the port of New York, he was the founding chairman of the South Street Seaport Museum, dedicated to the preservation of New York's maritime history. He also established the Ship Trust of New York Inc., in support of the volunteer restoration of historic ships which included the Museum's full rigged Ship Wavertree as well as a small fleet of working harbor and sailing vessels.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Patricia Cotten Isbrandtsen and his brother Waldemar Isbrandtsen. He is survived by wife, Marilyn King (Pearson), sister Niel I. Rising, his seven children; Ellen I. Sykes, Niel Isbrandtsen, Hans Isbrandtsen (Katherine Fogarty), Madeline Isbrandtsen, Eugenie I. Gentry (Bradford), Andree I. Pruett (Robert), and Leise I. Roberts (David), nine grandchildren, six great grandchildren and five stepchildren
A service will be held at a later date. Contributions to either the Storm Trysail Foundation, 1 Woodbine Ave, Larchmont, NY 10538 or the South Street Seaport Museum, Ship Wavertree, 12 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038 in his memory would be greatly appreciated.
Published in Greenwich Time on Jul. 15, 2018.