The stories recounted and appreciation of wildlife, as sown by Adolphe Vermont III, will have to be repeated through the lives of every person he touched.
The Kansas native, who spent most of his life in South Carolina, and began leading Lowcountry boat tours in 1985, was remembered for his passion and heart in sharing education and observations during his 72 years. (See his formal obituary at ridgewayfh.com/tribute/details/82/Captain-Vermont/obituary.html.)
R. Walter Hill IV, director of the Horry County Museum in Conway, saluted the former commercial fisherman and tour guide known simply as “Captain Sandy” on multiple, “colorful” plateaus as a “humanitarian, storyteller and a historian.”
“When you talked with him,” Hill said, “you felt a deep intellect that really came out in his stories that illustrated his personal interest and commitment to reliving, recreating, and remembering stories from our past in a very energetic and special way.”
Although Vermont – a widowed father of four and grandfather of eight – was not an academic historian, Hill said, he immersed himself in the Lowcountry with such special characteristics in “telling the story of our people in this area.”
Vermont also would give occasional presentations at Horry County Museum, most recently as spring, Hill said.
“He was not just into storytelling,” Hill said of Vermont’s entertaining style. “He was really knowledgeable about plants and animals in our environment.”
Hill said the museum crew learned of Vermont’s passing from Diane DeVaughn Stokes, host of the “Inside Out” monthly TV show on HTC channel 4, and “Diane at Six,” simulcast 6-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays on WEZV-FM 105.9 and WGTN-FM 100.7.
“No one could tell a story or drag out the punchline like Capt. Sandy,” Stokes said. “He had so much knowledge of the local plantations, rivers and backwoods, and he loved to share it with anyone who would listen.”
Stokes never forgot how Vermont “could take you on a tour of the backwoods and swamps and make you feel like you were in Bora Bora.”
“He once took me on a boat ride when the community was trying to save the Georgetown Lighthouse,” she said. “He was so passionate about it, as I was, too, that we both cried when we got out there.”
When Vermont joined Stokes for a segment a year ago on “Inside Out” to talk about his boat tours, Stokes said, “he was so proud of his beard, which was a foot long.”
Stokes doesn’t see Vermont’s voice losing an audience, either.
“God better be ready to listen closely,” she said, “ ‘cause Capt. Sandy has some mighty good stories.”
Laura Rusinko of the Bucksport area, and president and newsletter editor for the Grand Strand Shell Club, remembered the first time she took one of Vermont’s shelling trips. She said that using ice coolers for seating, she was right next to him in his captain’s chair and that getting “soaking wet” didn’t put a damper on her excursion.
“In general, he was just an easygoing, funny man to talk with,” Rusinko said, grateful for all the wildlife viewing “and the different areas where things happened” that he would point out.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.