Sunday, December 13, 2015


Erik Foss turns 50 today!
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

The years go by quickly, especially when you're busy.

Erik Foss turns 50 today, a fact I had overlooked until his son, Christian, told me.  Where was his dad?  He was at work.  "He likes to work on his birthday," according to Christian.  Maybe working is intended to help this day pass more quickly, and not be reminded of the additional year.

During a "survival exercise" on the Arni J. Richter in 2004,
Erik helped adjust life vests on sons Doug and Christian.
Both boys have worked as crew during their summers in
recent years.

When looking at today's Ferry Line crew, there are many faces familiar to the public since their mid-teens.  Erik is one of those who rode in the pilot house and threw the mooring line to the spile as well as anyone, when he was still in junior high.  Official records kept for continuous employment show that Erik comes in a close second to Capt. Bill Jorgensen, who (like Erik) worked for the Ferry Line several summers before joining permanently in April of 1987.   There are many trips under the belt of these two captains, with Bill holding the unofficial record of having the most crossings of the Door, of anyone, with his long work record and many trips on the ferries each year.

It's fun to look back on the years as told in photos, so here are a selection of photos showing Erik, Bill, Joel Gunnlaugsson, Jeff Cornell and Rich Ellefson.  

I'm sorry I'm not able to date each photo with accuracy.  Time has a way of wiping out memory of the year without a date having been recorded.  Perhaps the people in the photos remember.

- Dick Purinton

Bill Jorgensen at helm of Voyageur,
around 1980-81.
Bill with son, Dale, in
wheelhouse of C.G. Richter.
(Year unknown)
Captain Rich Ellefson (year unknown),
now Ferry Line vice president and operations manager.
Captain Joel Gunnlaugsson (then summer crew 1993).   
Krista and Joel, before marriage, children, Town
government, County Board, etc. (1996)

Captain Jeff Cornell (year unknown) who operates
both Karfi to Rock Island and ferries to

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