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A Legend Retires from the Gloria Michelle

Rhodes presents a plaque to Sutter
Officer in Charge, Carl Rhodes, presented Bill Sutter with a plaque in recognition of his support for the Gloria Michelle and his many contributions to the state surveys. (Photo by Shelley Dawicki, NOAA)

Famous in the galley for his scones and chocolate cakes, Bill Sutter of Wiscasset, Maine is just as well known for his knowledge, hard work, and experience working New England waters for various state fisheries surveys. Bill retired this month as a deck hand on the NEFSC’s small research vessel Gloria Michelle after completing the fall bottom trawl survey with colleagues Jeremy King, Matt Camisa, and Vincent Manfredi from the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF).

NEFSC and DMF colleagues gathered September 22, Bill’s last day on the job, for lunch at the Captain Kidd restaurant in Woods Hole, and they presented him with a plaque in recognition of his many contributions to the surveys.

Bill jokingly remarked that this is his third, but not last, retirement. His first came after a 30-year career with the Maine Department of Transportation, where he held a variety of engineering and management positions before retiring in 1993. “I oversaw highway and bridge construction projects, served as Director of Traffic Operations, and coordinated utility accommodations within public highway rights of way.”

A long-time resident of Wiscasset, Maine, Sutter’s second retirement came in 2004 after he served 19 years as the town’s harbormaster. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard near coastal master’s license, and has been active in the commercial fishing industry or more than 40 years as owner/operator of a commercial fishing vessel. Commercial fishing is what led to his association with NEFSC’s research vessel Gloria Michelle, where he has worked on the ship’s surveys conducted with the states of Maine and Massachusetts for the past eight years.

Sutter has been involved in Maine State fisheries management activities for many years, and he currently serves as Chair of the Sea Urchin Zone Council and as a member of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council.

Bill Sutter at his retirement lunch at the Captain Kidd
Colleagues gathered during lunch to honor Bill Sutter (center) upon his retirement. From left to right: Dave McElroy, Gloria Michelle Officer in Charge (OIC) Carl Rhodes, Bill Sutter, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) biologists Jeremy King and Matt Comisa. Photo by Shelley Dawicki, NOAA Fisheries Service

Through the years he has been involved in many civic and social activities, among them serving as commodore of the Wiscasset Yacht Club, trustee and clerk of the Wiscasset Water District, president of the Wiscasset School District, president of the Lincoln County Historical Association, chair of the town’s budget committee, chair of the board of trustees of his church, and master of the Lincoln County masonic lodge. He has also served as chair of the board of the Maine Harbormaster’s Association, as a member of the State of Maine Governor’s Fishing Vessel Safety Task Force, and has participated in many youth activities while his children were growing up.

Bill and his wife Judith have been married for 45 years and have two children. Daughter Sarah is teaching at the American School in Japan, and son William lives in Colorado with his wife and son and serves as director of budgeting and purchasing for the Boulder Valley School District.

Gloria Michelle Officer in Charge Carl Rhodes says Bill’s support and years of experience will be missed. “Bill has provided the Officers of the Gloria Michelle a wealth of knowledge and support over the years. He has been a very valuable crew member of the vessel. His scones and cooking have also become something of a legend among the scientific parties and crew that he has sailed with. He will be greatly missed.”

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(File Modified May. 23 2016)

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