We are sad to announce the passing Jim Dragseth’ s father and one of the founders of Whiticar Boat Works, John A. Dragseth, on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.
He will sadly be missed by wife, family and friends.
John Andrew Dragseth was born on August 26, 1923 in Redfield, South Dakota. He enlisted in the Army and attended officer candidate school. The students were transferred to Army 96th Infantry Division as troops were needed in the Pacific Theater. Sergeant John Dragseth was awarded a Bronze Star for heroic service in connection with military operations against the enemy on Okinawa Island on 15 June 1945.
Upon honorary discharge he received a Civill Engineering degree from the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. John married the love of his life, Dora Jane (Dode) Urton on June 21, 1948 and then moved to Florida in 1949 to aid Curt Whiticar, his brother-in-law in the growth and operations of Whiticar Boat Works. At this time they lived in the small cottage north of the Whiticar boat yard that was moved from the WW2 Camp Murphy base in Hobe Sound. Two weeks after their arrival the August 1949 hurricane blew through making shambles of the area. Dora Jane said “ if the men were not so busy we would have moved back to South Dakota”.
John & Dode later built their house in 1953 directly across from the boat yard on Old St. Lucie Blvd. and have lived there ever since. He retired from Whiticar Boat Works at 73 years old in 1996. His son Jim Dragseth joined the company in June 27, 1969 and has been President of the company for many years, following in his father’s footsteps.
John Dragseth invested countless hours wearing many hats in the early years of the company. He was the boatyard systems & mechanical foreman, electrical design & install for new boat construction, ran and maintained the rail ways, and managed billing and inventory and just about anything else that needed to be done.
John’s hobbies included gardening, gem collecting and golf. John is survived by his wife Dora Jane, his son Jim, daughter Alice Dragseth Royo, 4 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 2nd at 11:00 at the gazebo located at the Hospice Mayes Center at 1201 SE Indian St., Stuart FL 34997.
Donations to Treasure Coast Hospice or other charitable agency of your choice in John Dragseth’s honor.