In Memoriam: Robert Edward Pegel, 1927 – 2015

It is with a great sense of loss that I inform you of the death on March 5 of Robert E. Pegel, Race Officer Emeritus. Bob, who was Member Number Two in our membership chronology, was a tireless and committed volunteer who served our Yacht Club in many ways over the past 60 years. Please join me in extending heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Jane Wiswell Pegel, and their daughter, Susan.

Bob Pegel’s interest in building and sailing boats began at a Boy Scout camp in Michigan and developed further at Columbia Yacht Club then later at Chicago Yacht Club, where he raced in a variety of one-design classes and offshore boats. He was a partner in Kenneth A. Nelson Sailmakers in Chicago, and after moving to Williams Bay in 1971, he and Jane opened their business, Sailing Specialists.

Bob joined LGYC in 1955, initially competing in Class C, then Class E, and in the 1960s and 1970s he and Jane compiled a record that included ten season championships for the Commodore Gordon Bartels Perpetual Trophy and multiple wins of most of the other Class E trophies. In 1965, he won the A. F. Gartz Jr. Memorial Trophy and the H. R. Hough Trophy for permanent possession, later re-donating them as perpetual trophies to the Yacht Club where they remain active today. In 1967, the Pegels won the Class E Blue Chip Regatta.

Bob’s Yacht Club service includes decades of work on the Regatta Committee, the Race Committee, and the Judges Committee; as Principal Race Officer; and as Associate, Senior, and Chief Judge. He also served on the Scoring Committee; the House Committee; and the later House, Grounds, and Waterfront Committee. From 1996 until his retirement in 2014, he was the club’s Associate Chief Race Officer for Equipment. He was also a member and chair of the Trophy Committee and the History and Archives Committee.

Bob Pegel received all of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club’s awards for outstanding service: the Dr. and Mrs. Will F. Lyon Trophy for his Race Committee work (which he won in 1968, 1977, 1996, and 2001), the Sherman Trophy (2009), and the Marie Kramp Award (2014). In 1998, LGYC member Wendell Sherry donated the Robert E. Pegel Perpetual Trophy to the Yacht Club in recognition of Bob’s support and dedication to Laser sailing on Geneva Lake.

Bob served as president of the Geneva Lake Sailing School (1969-1971, 1981-1983) and for two decades on its Board of Directors. For many years, he was the Inland Lake Yachting Association’s delegate to the North American Yacht Racing Union later the United States Yachting Racing Union, also serving as chair of the USYRU and National Championship Events Committee, as a member of the Class Committee, as Associate Appeals Committee member, as chair of the Race Management Committee, and as Race Officer and Judge. In 2003, he received the ILYA’s Bilge Puller’s Cannon “to recognize an outstanding volunteer from the ILYA’s race management corps.”

At the national level, Bob was a USYRU and US Sailing Association Senior Race Officer, a Certified Judge, and a past member of the Board. In 2007 the US Sailing Judges Committee awarded him the title of Judge Emeritus “in recognition of long and distinguished service to the Judges Program, to race management, and to the sport.”

For many years Bob was a member of the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation Appeals Committee.

Bob Pegel served as Commodore of the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association Championship, President of the International Skeeter Association, Commodore of the Renegade Class, Race Committee chair for many DN Class events, and was a founding member of the National Iceboat Authority. His iceboating triumphs include winning the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association (A Skeeter) and the International Skeeter Association (C Skeeter) championship titles.

Needless to say, Bob was an extremely important part of our Yacht.  He has built a legacy that will not be forgotten by those who knew him and those generations to come.  He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held on March 28, 2015. We will provide further information as it is available.

F Terrence Blanchard