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sail-world.com -- Eight Bells for William (Bill) Thorpe, US Sailing Judge and Umpire

Eight Bells for William (Bill) Thorpe, US Sailing Judge and Umpire    
Fri, 7 Dec 2012

William P. (Bill) Thorpe IV (age 74), the 1993 Commodore of Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit), died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, December 2, after a long, courageous battle following surgery earlier this year to remove a malignant brain tumor. He had been a member of Bayview since 1972.

Bill was a fiercely competitive sailor who raced big boats and small for decades. He was active in the International Etchells fleet at Bayview for many years and proud to be an 'Old Goat', an honor reserved for those who have completed at least 25 Bayview Mackinac Races. He sailed his first Bayview Mackinac in 1971. His scores of shipmates had nothing but praise for Bill as the news of his passing spread.

Bill never retired from racing sailboats, but in his later years he became a well-respected and much sought-after judge and umpire. When he left us, he was an International Judge (since 2006) and a US SAILING-certified Senior Judge (since 1999) and Umpire (since 2004). Bill was a US SAILING Regional Administrative Judge from 2007 to 2012 and a frequent instructor in its judges training and certification program.

He will be remembered as deeply committed to sailors and sailing with a strong, no-nonsense sense of fair play. Bill would have smiled at one shipmate’s description of his 'curmudgeonly charm'.

A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2326 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, with a celebratory gathering at Bayview Yacht Club, 100 Clairpointe Avenue, Detroit, after the service.

by J. Theodore Everingham



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