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Eight Bells: Bob Pegel

Published on March 7th, 2015

BobPegel1984SanduskyOHRobert Edward Pegel, 87, of Williams Bay, Wisconsin died March 5, 2015. Bob was born on May 9, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Robert Emil Pegel and Eva Louise Mohler. Bob became interested in water activities while spending summers at Boy Scout camps in Michigan which were managed by his father. He graduated from Volta Elementary School, Lane Tech High School (Class of 1945) and Wright Junior College in Chicago.

Bob was a member of Columbia Yacht Club and Chicago Yacht Club. He raced on big boats on Lake Michigan and also raced Lehman dinghies, Penguins, Stars and in other classes. Bob was a partner in Kenneth A. Nelson Sailmakers in Chicago. As a sailmaker, Bob and Ken obtained a patent for “square-work”, having a pre-made luff and foot rope inside of a tape. This was the continuation of a technique originated by Harry Nye.

Bob began coming to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to go iceboating and was introduced to Jane Wiswell. On June 14, 1955, Bob and Jane were married at the home of the bride’s parents (Dr. Clifford and Beatrice Wiswell) in Williams Bay. Their only child Susie was born Sept. 13, 1956 at Lakeland Hospital in Elkhorn.

Bob and Jane lived in the Edgebrook neighborhood of Chicago from 1955 until 1971 when they moved to Williams Bay. They opened a business, Sailing Specialists, which also became the new home of Nelson sails. Sailing Specialists became dealers for Laser, Johnson scows, Sunfish, Sonar, O’Day and Prindle and Hobie catamarans. Later Bob also built cold-molded scows using WEST system epoxy. These boats won many championships. Sailing Specialists was closed in 2009 when Bob and Jane decided to retire.

The Pegels were instrumental in the establishment of the Williams Bay Sailing Club which held Laser races on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings. The Williams Bay Sailing Club hosted the 1972 Laser North Americans and 1984 U.S. Laser Nationals.

During his iceboating career, Bob raced an A Skeeter and won the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association championship and finished as high as 2nd in the International Skeeter Association championship. He was a commodore of the NIYA and a president of the ISA. He was a life member of the Skeeter Ice Boat Club and a founding member of the National Iceboat Authority. He later raced a C Skeeter (winning the ISA championship) and then a Renegade. Bob was a member and former commodore of the Renegade class and member of the DN class. He served as the head race committee person at DN championship regattas.

Bob joined the Lake Geneva Yacht Club in 1955 and was member #2 at the time of his death. He raced a C scow and an E scow with the sail number I-11. The Pegels won the Inland Lake Yachting Association E Invitational regatta, E Blue Chip and finished as high as 2nd in the E Inland and E Nationals regattas. At the Lake Geneva Yacht Club Bob served on the race committee, trophy committee and supervised the race committee boats the Flagship and Flagship II. Four times he was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. Will Lyon race committee trophy. In 2014 he received the Marie Kramp Award for Outstanding Service. In 2015 he was bestowed with the title of Race Officer Emeritus.

Bob served for six years as president of the Geneva Lake Sailing School. He was a member of the ILYA Bilge Pullers and received the ILYA race committee award. He also served as a member of the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation appeals committee. At the national level he was a member of the US Sailing Board of Directors, was active in Midwest area activities, chairman of the O’Day committee (national singlehanded sailing championship), and a certified race management officer and judge. He served as a judge for many national and North American sailing championships. In 2007 he was recognized with the title of Judge Emeritus. On a civic level, Bob served for many years as the Harbor Commissioner of Williams Bay.

Bob is survived by wife Jane and daughter Susie. A memorial service will be at Toynton’s Funeral Home in Walworth, Wisconsin at 11 a.m. March 28. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. Memorials can be made to Lane Tech Alumni Association, 2501 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL 60618. Arrangements are being handled by Toynton’s Funeral Home.

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