ArticleFamilyCharles Wayne Parlett

Written By: Kitten

Not many people know about my brother Chucky. He passed away when I was 11. He was my hero. I could do no wrong in his eyes. I will never forget the day I found out he was lost at sea. I had stayed after school for something, and a relative picked me up where the activity bus dropped me off. I found that odd, cause usually I just walked the short distance home. Thats when this relative told me that Chucky was lost at sea. Here is the official statement of what happened on Nov 30, 1981.

In October 1980, Daniel Whorton, Leroy Whorton, and a third investor formed a Virginia corporation to purchase and outfit the fishing vessel St. Patrick for scallop fishing in Alaska. William Wilson purchased the third investor’s 50% share in the enterprise in 1981.

The master and mate hired for the St. Patrick had considerable experience in fishing the North Atlantic. In September 1981, after an informal Coast Guard inspection of the boat in Anchorage, the owners were informed that the officers had to be licensed by the Coast Guard to sail outside territorial waters. The owners gave license applications to the vessel’s officers, but the forms were never completed. The owners allowed the boat to go scallop fishing anyway. Two fishing operations were successfully completed in October and November 1981.
3In late November, the boat’s master made a temporary, unexpected departure, and the mate became acting master. The owners, aware of the master’s absence and that the mate remained unlicensed, allowed the boat to continue fishing outside territorial waters. A storm arose while the St. Patrick was fishing 13 miles from shore. In heavy seas, the acting master kept the boat broadside to the waves despite suggestions from the crew that this was dangerous. A large wave rolled the boat on its side, causing considerable flooding and damage. The acting master ordered the crew to abandon ship. Ten of the crew including the acting mate eventually died from the cold. Two survived, but were badly injured and emotionally scarred. The boat was later found floating near the point of its abandonment
We could not find out any information, despite many phone calls to Alaska and the coast guard. A few months later, I was standing in the checkout line of a grocery store, and I glanced at the Star magazine (a tabloid) On the front was a headline “Survivor tells tale of terror at sea” So naturally I pick it up and start reading. To my horror, I read how my brother had died. The star magazine was able to get info that the families couldnt. From what the article said, the group of 10 had tied themselves together and as the people died, they cut them loose. There was a few people left. They could see land in the distance. Chucky volunteered to swim ahead and see if he could make it. The survivor goes on and says that after a while he spotted a orange something floating in the water. It took him a while to figure out that it was Chucky he was watching. He didnt make it through.
Chucky’s body wasnt found til the next summer. Until they identified him, I had held up hope that he was still alive. Even after burying him, I still didnt want to believe he was gone. I finally accepted it when I was around 16. I saw my brother walk out of the bedroom. For some reason, it comforted me to know he was still around.
I know he is still around. He has 2 nephews named after him. David Charles West and Charles Edwin Ramirez. I know he is watching over both of them.


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