In Memory of

Capt. William A. Hoey III


April 30, 1938 - September 28, 2013

Member of Detroit Lodge No. 7 - 49 Years
Initiated March 3, 1964
Pennant No. 10147

Lodge No. 7 President - 1978
Grand Lodge President - 1983
Recipient of Lewis Ludington Award - 2005

On Saturday, September 28, 2013 Detroit Lodge No. 7 lost one of its senior members when Capt. William 'Bill' Hoey passed away at the age of 75 after a nine year battle with multiple myeloma.  Born and raised in the Detroit area, Captain Hoey grew up in Ferndale, the son of Winston A. and Florence Hoey. 

As a youngster he spent summers at his uncle's cottage in northern Canada, which nurtured his interest in boats.  Through a neighbor who was involved with the Detroit Historical Society, Bill was introduced to their museum ship at the time, the J.T. WING.  At a young age, he joined the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, and served as an early editor of their publication, the TELESCOPE.

After graduating from Ferndale High School in 1956, Bill spent a brief period in the U.S. Navy before returning to Detroit and going to work for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company.  At the same time, he worked part-time on the Fuller and Becker tugs and began what was to be his permanent career.  In 1964, he formed the Gaelic Tugboat Company and purchased his first tug, the TIPPERARY.  When Warren Fuller retired in 1965, Bill acquired Fuller Marine Towing Company, and in June of 1968, he obtained his masters license.  Shortly thereafter, he left Michigan Bell so he could devote all of his time to Gaelic, which continued to grow with the 1971 acquisition of the Frank Becker Towing Company.  By the late 70's, the Gaelic fleet had grown to number 15 tugs. 

In 1982, Bill achieved a life-long ambition when his WILLIAM A. WHITNEY captured the overall prize in the International Freedom Festival Tugboat Race. 

During the 1983 ISMA Grand Lodge convention at the Northfield Hilton in Troy, Bill was elected to the office of Grand Lodge President.  One of the notable accomplishments of his time in office was the establishment of Niagara District Lodge No. 20.    

In 1991, Bill began a new venture, Diamond Jack's River Tours, with the purchase of a 65-foot former Arnold Line Mackinac Island ferry which he renamed DIAMOND JACK.  The company has since grown to a fleet of three vessels. 

In 1992, the Great Lakes Maritime Institute recovered an anchor which the S/S EDMUND FITZGERALD lost in the Detroit River in 1974, one year before the FITZGERALD sank on Lake Superior.  Bill played a major role in the recovery of the anchor, donating both his time and the assets of his company.   Along with Mal Sillars, Bill was active in planning the live TV broadcast of the anchor recovery, which aired on July 20th, 1992 from the bottom of the Detroit River.  "Live Dive: the Legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was the talk of the town.  Today, the anchor is on display on the grounds of Dossin Museum thanks in no small part to the efforts of Bill Hoey.     

Now managed by Bill's daughter, Patty Hoey-Carrothers and her husband Steve, the vessels of Gaelic Tugboat Company and Diamond Jack's River Tours continue to be familiar sights on the Detroit waterfront.     

Bill was preceded in death by his son, William A. Hoey IV, who passed away in 2001.  He is survived by his wife Katy; two daughters, Patricia (Steve) Carrothers, and Susan Pomerleau; grandson Nicklaus Carrothers; and sister Catherine (Michael) Roberts.

Thanks to the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Maritime Institute for providing some of the above biographical information.   Bill was a member of both organizations for over 50 years.  He also served on the board of directors of and was also a member of several other maritime history groups.  He was particularly knowledgeable about the Detroit River, with wisdom gained from a lifetime spent navigating its waters, and was always willing to share information and photographs with others.

On October 5, 2013, a memorial service was held at the John Molnar Funeral Home in Brownstown Township, Michigan.  

The family has requested memorials be made to:

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
383 Main Avenue; 5th Floor
Norwalk, CT 06851

wps                                                Bill Hoey doing what he loved most: driving a tugboat.    (photo courtesy of Emory A. Massman)                

Bill Hoey and lodge member Warren Fuller in the summer of 2009