STONINGTON — Andrew Gove began lobstering in the waters around Deer Isle as a boy of 7, fishing with his grandfather off Eagle Island in Penobscot Bay.
Last year, at the age of 89, the lobsterman universally known as “Uncle” hauled his gear for the last time and retired to his home on Stonington Harbor with his wife of 73 years, Rose.
Gove died late last month and now the lobster fishing community is planning a tribute to the man who was a respected patriarch of the lobster fishing industry.
Plans call for a fleet of boats to gather off Greenhead at the western end of the Deer Island Thorofare at noon on Sunday, July 12, and then to proceed eastward in a double line toward the Stonington fish pier. The procession will be led by the lobster boat Miss Katy, owned by Nick Wiberg, with members of the Gove family aboard. The boat is the former Uncle’s UFO that Gove fished regularly for some 20 years and raced with record-setting success on the summer lobster boat racing circuit.
At Two Bush Island, a skiff will carry members of the Gove family ashore for a wreath-laying ceremony with an American flag. The ceremony is to be followed by a “nine-airhorn salute,” according to Julie Eaton, a Stonington lobster boat captain who is helping to organize the event.
“This is not a party and not about racing,” Eaton said Monday morning. “It’s a tribute to Andy” who, she said, “didn’t want a funeral.”
According to Eaton, many boats from Stonington, Deer Isle as well as harbors all along the coast are expected to attend the tribute. It is also anticipated that there will be a crowd of spectators ashore who will want to share in the tribute to Gove.
“We’re asking everybody on shore to observe the 6-foot distancing and to wear a face mask,” Eaton said. “We don’t want this to be a chance for anyone to get sick.”