Artist wrote:June 1, 2014
I was on the Gimli pier about 2 years ago, painting the Namao, and the coast guard boat among others. I was approached by a gentleman asking if I had heard of the Suzanne E. I hadn't, at the time, so he told me about the events of Sept 1965, and that his wife owned the boat. Looking at my work on canvass, he asked if I would be interested in painting the Suzanne E on the seawall. I said I would, but we would have to make arrangements with the powers that be. He took my number and said he would look into it, and that was the last I heard from him.
I have since tried to find out what I can about the Suzanne E, but information is limited. I am still interested in this project in some form, if I can find this gentleman, or some pictures to work with.
Thanks Gary. Glad to have my small tribute to the memory of the nine people lost, on the Suzanne-E. I never did hear back from the mysterious gentleman. But it was to late, my curiosity was peaked. The first thing I found was, he didn't say his wife owned the boat. He said it was his wife's boat. My mistake.
I was also referred to someone very experienced with the lake, and likely involved in the aftermath events. He had a scrap book of lake history, and of the Suzanne-E, but only the same picture you have. After our brief conversation a warning was offered, "I'm not telling you what to do, or not do, but..." and something like, 'there are a lot of bad feelings out there and best not stir them up.'
Initially I took it to heart. But, nine people died, it was well documented at the time, and then apparently, deliberately not spoken of. Same as forgotten.
The gentleman I met 3 or 4 years ago was in a long dark coat and hat, and in his 80s, I think. Seemed more dressed for fall, but I think it was still summer. My other thought was, his wife was the cook, but Christine Settee was 58 at the time. The mystery continues.
One other question. Why would the boat go out with a hatch open. The suggestion I found in a book I have, is that a piece of cargo didn't fit all the way in, and was left it sticking out the open hatch. Would that be a decision of an lesser qualified captain?