He finally got his wish….it took almost ten years for him to be on the cover of FishMonster Magazine. We had always told him he needed to HOLD A FISH to be on the cover, Captain Gene would AVOID holding a fish at all costs mainly because he believed his deckhand should receive the credit for the caught fish, he always stood by what he believed. In honor of one of our DEAREST FRIENDS we’ve decided to break from tradition and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER our cover shot does not have any SEA LIFE attached. Instead, the July/August issue will be of a Key West Charter Captain who enjoyed a GREAT LIFE.
Captain Gene Chrzanowski our lead writer for FishMonster Magazine passed away on May 9th 2017 in the afternoon. We have gathered together excerpts of E-Mails we have received from people close to Captain Gene including a few simple text messages.
"Our dad died in 1990 in Naples and the wife and I would look in on mom every day and Gene would come and visit a couple of times a year, then around 2001 at about the age of 82, mom fell and broke her hip. We were wondering how to take care of her when Gene told me it was his turn and quit his job and moved to Naples to stay with mom and take care of her. Gene “no wife, no kids, no pets, no plants” Chrzanowski, the care-giver. Could have knocked me over with a feather.
The two of them got along well except that Gene wanted mom to stop driving. Mom used to be a very good driver, but with age certain abilities decrease without people realizing. Gene and I both feared getting into the car with mom driving, but if you’ve ever had that conversation with your parents, you have an idea of how useless words can be. It was especially frustrating for a lawyer who saw the liabilities.
Mom died one night in Dec 2003. She fell asleep watching Titanic. It was probably Leonardo DiCaprio’s fault. Gene had taken boating courses and passed his captain’s license while he was with mom and decided he was going to buy a charter fishing boat and not go back to being a lawyer. This is summed up in the Tim Williams video right after the pictures of Gene in a white shirt and tie. He checked out the Kona Coast of Hawaii, then San Diego, then Key Largo, then Key West, then back to Hawaii, and then he found the Fatal Attraction and you all know the story from here on in better than I do.
He fell in love with Key West and I don’t ever remember him ever taking a vacation from Key West in all that time. he told me that people come to him on vacation - why would he leave?
He had no TV and rarely used his truck but he had a lot of good friends who were with him at the end. He lived and died on his own terms."
“Although I never knew Gene as a lawyer, (and he always reminded you how good of a lawyer he was) I did know him as a friend. If Gene was anywhere near as good a lawyer as he was a friend, he must have been a GREAT lawyer. One of his talents was the uncanny ability to connect people. He would remember details, sometimes obscure, that would come up during conversation. When he was able to connect two people with the same details, just like that, a new friendship was born. I think it was something he really enjoyed and certainly something he was good at. Personally through Gene I have come in contact with a wide range of people from varying backgrounds and locations around the country. Some of these people fished with Gene and some just enjoyed having a beer and a conversation. A few have also now made their way to Key West and call the island home. Because of Gene I have made some of the best friends I have ever had and with whom I will continue a lifelong friendship.”
“Among many things, Gene was a lawyer, a charter Captain, a lover of Coors Light and a friend. While there are plenty of lawyers, plenty of charter captains and believe me, plenty of lovers of Coors Light, what we don’t have plenty of are friends like Gene. Farewell my friend.”
“Our friendship taught me many things. Respect and loyalty is more important than geographical convenience. You also helped make me a better financial advisor. You were one of my “richest” clients, not in terms of net worth but as to what money means. You weren’t happy making good money as a lawyer so you reinvented and adjusted your lifestyle. Having the most of anything wasn’t important to you; being happy was and you accomplished that goal.”
“On my 30th anniversary of living in DC, I sent you an email thanking you for all the years of friendship and for helping me make the decision that literally changed my life. Your response was “You’ve been a true friend for a long time. That’s the best compliment I can think to give you.” I can’t think of a better response to say to you. Rest in peace, my friend. I’m going to miss you.”
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