News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 6, 2017
Goves celebrate 70th anniversary; Andy receives DMR stewardship award

Rose and Andy Gove

Rose and Andy Gove celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary among family and friends.

Photo by Nat Barrows Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Nat Barrows

Saturday, June 10, was a busy day for Andy and Rose Gove. Andy went out to haul. Then later the two went to Stonecutters Kitchen for a long-planned party to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary along with Rose’s 88th birthday the day before and Andy’s 87th birthday the previous month.

Among the many family members and guests attending were four Maine Department of Marine Resources Marine Patrol officers—Col. Jonathan Cornish and MPOs Rustin Ames, Dan Vogell and Tyler Sirois—who were not on hand to check on the lobster license status of the many fishermen there, but to give Andy a special award.

Andy and Rose celebrate

70 years together

After dating for about two years, Rose and Andy were married June 14, 1947, in a house on Tea Hill in Stonington. Andy borrowed the money to get a wedding ring and for the small family ceremony. Archie Hutchinson, Rose’s dad, played the accordion.

Their first home was an apartment behind what was then Freedman’s Department Store on Main Street (now the Stonington Post Office). Both were born in Stonington; Andy went to school on Eagle Island to the sixth grade. Except for a stint as caretakers on Great Spruce Head Island and some years living on Eagle Island, they moved around Stonington until 1955 when they bought their present home on Green Head Cove.

The Goves also have a very active home with lifelong dog companions and generations of ducks that they feed in the area and water around their property.

Rose and Andy have two daughters, Myrna and Sandy, both of whom live in Stonington, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

According to granddaughter Lisa Purnell, “It took a lot of us (family and friends) to pull this [the party] off.” All the refreshments were made by family and the four-piece Brian Nadeau band that played included a grandson and a great-grandson. Andy’s brother Vance (his other brother Gene was ill) attended, as did his sisters Janet Nevells and Viola Brown. Rose’s three sisters, Lila Haskell, Judy Windgate and Charlotte Campbell, and her brother Ronnie Hutchinson attended. Longtime friends flew in.

A fishing tale

Andy has been fishing for 80 years and during that time has fished for many different species. He held a pilot’s license for two decades and would fly out of Stonington to spot herring. During his time on the water Gove said he has “lots of tales to tell of actual and near mishaps. One of them was about getting caught in a gill net hauler. At that time, with hake selling for a penny and cod at ten cents a pound, he decided that injury was not worth the return.

In those 80 years, Gove said he has seen many changes in the fishing industry and the ecology of the bay and ocean. He said he used to fish for lobsters in rock piles; “now they live everywhere, even in the mud.” The reasons for the large lobster population now are complex. Some of it can be attributed to the decline of cod fish that eat larval lobsters. The reduction in the number of herring that feed on lobster eggs is a factor. The escape vents in traps have helped too, he said.

Part of Andy’s life since 1984 has been competition in lobster boat racing on the coast. For 12 years he raced his Love Boat and for the last 20 years his Uncles UFO. Competing each summer in races from Jonesport to Harpswell, Gove has won numerous awards, including many for first in his class. Among the mementos of long and active lives that fill the Goves’ house are shelves and shelves stacked with trophies. He will race this Sunday, July 9, in Stonington.

Stewardship award

Over the years, along with many other fishermen from Stonington and Deer Isle, Andy has responded during times of accident and crisis for fellow fishermen. Often taking the lead or providing key support, Gove took his boat into difficult situations to effect rescues and search for those lost. He also took his plane up to help search.

Recognizing these acts and many others, the Department of Marine Resources presented Gove with a special Stewardship Award plaque and a picture of the DMR vessel Guardian. In presenting the picture Col. Cornish said it is symbolic of Andy’s lifetime of being a guardian for those in the fishing industry.

The plaque on the stewardship award reads: “On behalf of the Marine Patrol, we present this special recognition to Andy ‘Uncle’ Gove for 80 years of selfless acts of bravery, life saving and continued support to the citizens of Maine and the fishing community of Stonington, Deer Isle. We salute your dedication and appreciate your devotion to put yourself in harm’s way for the benefit of other mariners.”

(Please see the accompanying text of the remarks by MPO Rustin Ames at the celebration for further elaboration.)

In a recent interview Andy and Rose said they are pleased with the party and surprised and pleased with the recognition. They expressed gratitude to all.