“Moes”ying Through History, Part 4

Home Again, Home Again

7300bEd. –  If you missed the previous installments in this series, please read Part I, Part II and Part III.

In November 1945, after serving on a Landing Ship Tank at Iwo Jima, Mike returned home to Vermilion.  He was reunited with his wife, June, and two year-old son, Tom, who had, during his absence, resided in Lorain where June’s family lived.

After the war, Mike turned his energy to re-starting Moes Marine Service, which had passed the war years in the hands of a friend, Sandy Douglass.  Winters, however, were often lean, and Mike supplemented by working at GM in Elyria for a time and by working on the crew that built the grain elevator in Huron—a job which he disliked for being cold and dangerous.


Skids and cradle used to slide boats.

By the late 1940s, the boatyard was in full swing and Mike no longer had to supplement.  Just in time, too—the little family grew with the birth of a second son, John.  Mike put in long hours at the boatyard, working a full day, going home for dinner, and then returning to work until dark.  His crew included one full time employee and seasonal help, and together they undertook such jobs as sliding boats on skids (a rarely-used process) to the Vermilion Boat Club property for winter storage.  At that time, they also used a railway to haul boats in and out of the water.

Over the years, methods for moving and storing boats became more streamlined.  The boatyard railway was removed in 1968 and replaced with the present hoist, which allows for getting boats in and out of the water faster and more easily. Another major advancement was the construction of a second building on the property (around 1960), which allowed the boatyard crew to do boat repairs indoors over the winter.


The marine railway first used by Mike to haul boats out of the water. The railway deserves its own article sometime in the future!

The Moes family filled out with the birth of a daughter, Pam, and as the kids grew, they spent summer and afterschool time working at the boatyard.  By the early ‘70s and after adventures in college, both John and Tom returned to Vermilion and began working full time at the boatyard, where they have continued the family business to this day.  Their children—Michael, Matt, and Geoff (Tom’s) and Nat (John’s)—also spent summers and afterschool times at the boatyard, and most have, at one time or another, worked full time there.  Pam, too, resides in Vermilion, and her daughter, Molly, takes after the family with a love for sailing.  The Moes family recently entered its fourth generation since the boatyard’s founding with the birth of Owen (Michael’s son) last February.

As for Mike, he continued working into the early 1990s.  He and June enjoyed a period of retirement, boating to Put-in-Bay and annually spending a month in Florida.  Mike passed away in 1997, but his boatyard and his family continue to thrive.


The current Algonac Marine Lift purchased by Mike in 1968.

Thank you for your interest in the Moes family history.  Although this is the last installment in our four-part series, we encourage you to stop by the boatyard during coffee break to hear some anecdotes first-hand from John, Tom, and Michael.

Elizabeth Eshelman Moes

About Elizabeth Eshelman Moes

I am an aspiring novelist with a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from George Mason University. In addition to working on my own novel manuscripts, I have had the great privilege of working on two recent books: Literature Craft & Voice, Ed. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse (McGraw-Hill 2010), and The Poets Laureate Anthology, Ed. Elizabeth Schmidt (Norton 2010). You can read my thoughts on literature at http://elizabethanlit.blogspot.com/.