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Oct 8, 2019 2:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Twenty-Year Anniversary Noted At Lost At Sea Memorial

The Lost At Sea Memorial commemorates over 100 fisherman who were lost at sea. KYRIL BROMLEY
Oct 8, 2019 2:55 PM

More than 120 fishermen who lost their lives at sea — some dating back to the 1700s — have their names engraved on a bronze statue at the easternmost tip of Montauk, adjacent to the lighthouse.

Before GPS and modern-day technological advancements, many fishermen perished off the coast of Long Island thanks to strong winds, monstrous waves, and unexpected storm surges, causing shipwrecks.

In 1994, the widows of some of those lost at sea, and some fishermen who called Montauk home wanted to pay homage to fishermen who never received proper burials because they were lost at sea.

In 1999, “The Lost at Sea Memorial” was dedicated. And on Sunday, October 20, at 3 p.m., an observance of the 20th anniversary of the completion and dedication of “The Lost at Sea Memorial” will be held at the memorial site on the Montauk Lighthouse grounds to commemorate those fishermen who lost their lives in the rough seas.

Family, friends and anyone else who is interested is welcome to attend the observance in honor of the fishermen, said Malcolm Frazier, the artist who created the statue.

The 8-foot, 2,600-pound bronze statue on a 7-foot-high granite base depicts a determined, lone fisherman on his boat, pulling a line from the sea.

Mr. Frazier said the impetus for the statue was in 1993, when Joey Hodnik’s boat, “Ann Louise,” sunk off Martha’s Vineyard, leaving Mr. Hodnik and his shipmate, Edmund Sabo, lost at sea.

“They disappeared and nobody knows what happened. They didn’t even have time to get a call out. They were both young. Joey had a baby and a young wife,” Mr. Frazier said. The date Mr. Hodnik and Mr. Sabo died was March 3, 1993. Mr. Sabo was 27, and Mr. Hodnik was 26.

“The fishermen decided it was time to build a memorial and have a place on land to honor the people that lost their lives at sea,” Mr. Frazier said, adding that the memorial serves as a grave for the families and friends to visit.

On March 29, 1984, four young but experienced fishermen were lost at sea; Michael Vigilante, 19, David Connick, 23, Scott Clark, 19, and Captain Michael Stedman, 32 on the Windblown. The boat sank between Montauk and Block Island after it was caught in an unexpected storm, which turned into a hurricane, while the men were on a routine fishing trip.

On April 11, 1984, a memorial service was held for the crew of the Windblown, with over 500 mourners attending a service at Most Holy Trinity Church in East Hampton.

Capt. Stedman left behind a wife, Mary, and their three children.

Mr. Frazier’s statue was privately funded. About $200,000 was raised through fundraising efforts to cast the statue in bronze.

Mr. Frazier said the money came in little by little, but that in 1999, the statue was finally complete and dedicated. The names, ages, and dates when the fishermen were lost can be seen on the memorial, Mr. Frazier said, with the dates going back as far back as 1719.

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