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Looking back as we look forward to the Annapolis Boat Show

As I prepare for the upcoming US Powerboat Show in Annapolis I find myself reflecting on time spent with my former boat show partner Peter Brown.

I caught up with Pete during the last year of his life. Early on he invited me, the new sales rep, into his home for what I assumed was an opportunity to size me up. “What’s this guy’s plan” I’m sure was on his mind. Quickly we discovered we had a lot in common. The obvious passion for boats, a long-time connection to Lake Winnipesaukee, a ski racing background (snow). Soon we developed into the traveling road show working the circuit from Rockland ME thru Newport down to Annapolis.

“This is my associate Kevin McCarthy” he would tell people. “He’s going to lie to you and I’m going to swear to it”.

We developed a friendship that extended the workplace boundaries. I appreciated Pete’s openness and honesty. He wasn’t afraid to talk about the hardships as well as the highlights. Pete was a player not just a spectator. He and I agreed, “what’s worse than losing the big game?” “Never having played at all”.

He was a true entrepreneur. The “Godfather of the Sisu” as the story goes. Pete never lost the thrill of closing the deal. And he never tired of talking about boats. I was constantly in awe of his ability to work 3 and 4 days shows effortlessly connecting with folks on a very personal level. His infectious energy seemingly never waned.

During our final trip to Annapolis I could see the battle within was taking its toll. I’d drive him as close to his Rosborough as practical. He would slowly throw a leg over the gunwale and take up position “in his office”. Despite his failing mobility he never lost his positive attitude and easy smile. When you look at the picture you see a man truly “in the zone”.

Even in his final weeks we would speak on the phone and he would joke, “don’t bring me any green bananas”.

Pete’s gone now. He left his indelible mark on the Down-East boating community. He left me with many lessons not the least of which is how to die with dignity.

I feel fortunate to have called Peter Brown my friend.

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