William Frank Bergeron

William Frank Bergeron

Privacy Level: Private with Public Biography (Orange)
William Frank Bergeron
Born 1920s.
Died 1990s.
Profile last modified 12 Sep 2019 | Created 13 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 1,188 times.
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This person was created on 13 September 2010 through the import of 124-DeCoursey.ged.


"Six Bits" & Capt. William F. Bergeron of the St. Croix River

My late father: William F. Bergeron (B. 1922- D. 1992), was a long time boat enthusiast. He was an accomplished ship Captain and an esteemed member of the United States Power Squadron organization. In the 1960's to early 1970's, my father was the owner/operator of the Hudson Marina at Hudson, Wisconsin on the St. Croix River. Although he sold many different types of ships, including Uniflite Cuddy Cabins at his marina, his first and enduring love, was always the wooden Chris Craft vessels. He owned, loved and brought back to life, several of them, restoring many wooden Chris Craft boats to their former glory. Subsequently, he was always on the lookout for them. I remember vividly, as a child, accompanying my parents on numerous road trips throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, visiting every marina, all the while on the look out for abandoned, dry docked, Chris Crafts. On one such excursion, while driving through the countryside, my father spied a lovely old Chris Craft runabout, abandoned in a field of tall weeds. Most people would have never even noticed the old beauty, perched on her contemporary trailer, swallowed up in a sea of tall autumnal grass, but my father had salt water in his veins and could sniff out and spot a wooden Chris Craft from a mile away. Father had to stop and check out the boat, and contact the owner to see if it was for sale. It was definitely abandoned by the owner who happily sold it to my father, on the spot, for the sum of $1.00, trailer and all! It was one of the happiest days of my father's life. What a deal and what a find! He named the boat "Six Bits" in homage to the dollar bill it cost him to buy. The boat was weathered and had been neglected sitting unused, in an overgrown farm field, for several years. But my father took that challenge, and restored Six Bits back into the elegant lady that she was born to be. Six Bits is a very nice old Chris Craft Special Runabout Speedboat with vintage trailer. Has original 6 Engine. Vintage 17' circa 1952 It is a Model K #55713 inboard, Hull # SR171420. (According to my friend: Joe Soucheray, only 750 of this particular ship were made by Chris Craft). Six Bits was docked on the Saint Croix River for many years, as my father drove her to work and back home from the Hudson Marina everyday. Even on days he didn't work, my father would head down to the dock and take her out for a spin. He loved that old wooden boat until the day he died.

Sources

Personal interview memories of William's youngest Daughter: Yvette. September 2016.

Stillwater Minnesota Senior High School Kabekonian Year Books, circa 1938, 1939, 1940


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Comments: 9

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Please set this profile to open so the project members may edit it. Thanks.

I don’t know what all the drama is regarding a boat but I am sure there are proper channels, no pun intended, to having this sort of discussion. If this profile has high privacy to protect it from being vandalized by disgruntled family members, rest assured this will not be allowed. It can be project protected if needed.

So I ask you....how does a boat he paid a dollar for, end up being worth 14,000.00

My father was never called Captain but was a boat enthusiast. He never restored any thing in his life , he was an artist, a gifted musician, a kind old soul RIP Dad you were not a mechanical type of guy and because of that , I became one As for the boat, I pray it finds a good home , I feel its a travesty that my sister thinks this is hers and other family possessions also , to do with, what ever suits her considerable fancy and delusions, sadly she has demonstrated here more of the deliberate lies and dishonesty that she has been spouting for years now God bless my poor mother who has been brain washed.... And when you read Yvette ...take it with a grain of salt...her memory is awash in BS

posted by William Bergeron
So...Ron Kuse , who sold me the boat for 75.00 is still alive , So is Geo Colaizy , who rebuilt the transmission on my Plymouth burned up bringing the boat to Rivercrest from Phalen Lake , so is both Roger and Rich Buck , who helped me and my Dad , and know the true history of this old boat , I consider mine .

I am insulted about the story my sister has put forth here and testify that it is mostly poppy cock, she has some romantic delusions about several things she is trying to wrestle away from the other members of our family, this boat being one of them...she has tried to get 14,000.00 for this boat advertising it for years on the Chris collectors sites , If we could sell it for a thousand dollars , that would be a miracle

posted by William Bergeron
As she stands , I would say the engine is seized for sitting for so long , needs to be Taken apart and rehabbed... needs a professional boat refinishing, needs a full restoration, needs someone to love it again.

This boat came to this family AFTER my father was in the boat business in Hudson. This is a work boat type of runabout and was the bottom of the line for Chris in those years...it is a boat...not a ship and as far as boat collectors are concerned not particularly interesting enough to go through the thousands of dollars it would take to bring it back to respectability and dependability...it needs every thing done to it and a good trailer besides...Oh yes It also needs Glass , I never had the glass and having been in the plastic business made windshields for it from Acrylic

posted by William Bergeron
Disgusted with having lost something off the boat , every time we were not on it.after a few seasons it started looking a little shabby, and we didnt put it in the water , and my dad tried to do a "quickie" varnish job, with no prep and it spoiled it for me, because I realized its potential and hate to deal with these things , half assed..we had used it on the Croix without ever having registered it, and after his refinish job wanted to cruise with his old pal Bernie LaMont and registered the boat in his name , for fear of trouble with sheriff....This was the last 2 years the boat was in the water 78/79 out of the water now for more than 3 decades , however, inside out of the elements the hull still is very sound, bottom of stern in corners need attention nothing serious.
posted by William Bergeron
Saved at the dock from sinking we let it sit for a few days with a pump running and slowly it soaked up enough moisture to manage the leaks on its on bilge pump.

Six Bits made it back in the water for 3 seasons where it was enjoyed by my dad and myself , it ran marvelously , and looked great in the water...I reupholstered the seats with orange Naugahyde , With 2 inch buttons and lettered The "Six Bits" on the back. Sadly, a boat sitting in the channel across from Bear Can Island is not a mgood place to store a precious old wood boat...we lost the battery, and then the stainless trim from down the starboard side ,...they had to remove several dozen screws to stael that trim ...then the steering wheel a few months later..

posted by William Bergeron
After getting it up on its improvised traier , it sat outside for a season while we built a tent to house it and my 36 ford for the winter

The following summer , my dad bought a belt sander and I sanded the hull and started recaulking it, I stained it and my dad had some copper bottom paint from a previous project...at this point it was starting to look pretty good and after about 20 coats of varnish , it was real respectable...however problems , with the motor kept us off the water that season , My friend Rich Buck and his brother Roger helped us make it run again, and as it turned out, it had a lot of integrity and had been well maintained. We brought the boat to Beanies resort and put it in the water and it almost sank at the dock, it was so dry from sitting out of the water for years

posted by William Bergeron
North end of Phalen Lake.

He sold the boat to me for 75.00...Thats the reason we called the boat "Six Bits". The Trailer that I loaned from Hudson Marina to bring the boat from Phalen Lake in St Paul was not loaded correctly and had too much weight forward and it burned up the transmission on my 68 plymouth , which cost 400 to replace at the time...I blocked it up in the yard on Rivercrest and my dad and I and Rich Buck an old boat mechanic we knew helped us sort it out and located a trailer we could make and modify to work, after a lot of welding, new tires etc , we got the old girl on the trailer, it now sits on..."contemporary".....hardly, at best a contrived frame work from something else , a hay wagon I think, and suitable for moving the boat around , certainly not for on the road

posted by William Bergeron
My sisters memories of the particular boat called Six Bits is not correct..."the lovely old Chris Craft" she may be remembering was a boat called "Old Grand Dad"and was far from being "lovely" with not a piece of its trim or motor, This was in the late sixties before William August our grandfather had passed and before the upper portion of the home residence on Rivercrest had been built.

The Real story concerning "Six Bits", I was working for Sears Roebuck on Rice street , It was 1972, a co worker Ron Kuse was getting divorced and wanted to get rid of the boat before his wife would sell it out of spite. He had started to refinish it , had taken it all apart and stripped the finish from it, he lost his storage and had to keep it outside at the apartment complex where he lived on Phalen

posted by William Bergeron

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