Eight Bells: Jerome “Jerry” Schostak

Published on May 11th, 2014

Jerome “Jerry” Schostak, 80, of Franklin, Michigan, died after sunset on 9 May 2014. Jerry had cultivated one of the more successful sailing programs of the Great Lakes, competing in a series of boats named Fujimo.

Jerry jumped into serious competition when he chose to replace his venerable Swan 44 with a new custom 50-footer, which was barely completed in time for the 1985 SORC in Florida. Click here to read Tom Anderson’s entertaining tale about the boat.

A collection of 50-footers soon formed a racing series. Here’s an excerpt of a report by Roger Vaughan, published June 12, 1988 in the NY Times

Jerome Schostak, who is chairman of the board of Schostak Brothers & Company, a commercial and industrial real estate development organization in Southfield, Mich., is owner and skipper of Fujimo, the winning boat at the Miami 50’s. Schostak, 54, is a lean man with penetrating eyes and a polished, executive manner. He has a passion for details. In a waterproof bag hanging behind the helm of his boat is a cellular telephone. During the Miami 50’s regatta, a large Federal Express packet was delivered to Schostak each day from his office; he did the work at night and shipped a return packet to the office the following morning.

Schostak began sailing as a teenager. He came to purchase a 50-footer under pressure from three of his four sons, who are executives in the family business and race on the boat. Like many of today’s owner/skippers, Schostak has written the skipper’s job description to suit his talents. ”I’m old enough to stay off the pointy end,” he says, ”and there are others who steer better than I. So I organize the boat, keep the momentum going, make sure we are as prepared as possible at all times.” On Fujimo, Jerry Schostak is known as ”Dr. O,” as in organization.

John Bertrand, an Olympic medalist whom Schostak has enlisted to drive his boat, gives Schostak high marks as a manager. ”He reminds us about gear that is giving us trouble, makes appropriate comments and suggestions during the heat of battle, pulls us back when we get a little radical, always has a good sense of the big picture,” Bertrand says. ”That allows me to concentrate on what I have to do. And he has a great attitude when we lose, very up, talking immediately about the next race. That’s good leadership.”
A Funeral will be held at Ira Kaufman Chapel on Monday, 12 May 2014 at 10:00 am . In lieu of flowers, the family is asking those who wish to honor the memory of Mr. Jerome L. Schostak to do so by making a contribution to: Reuben Phoenix Schostak Congenital Heart Center Research Fund, http://victors.us/reubenfund

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