Wayne Vorpahl, a commercial fisherman who was raised in Amagansett, loved to be on the water, his family said. A bayman for most of his life, he started fishing with his uncle Dan King’s haulseine crew before he was out of high school.
He was devastated when haulseining was banned in the 1980s, his family wrote. Mr. Vorpahl, who was known as Skeeter, also went clamming, baiting, crabbing, eeling, and trapping, and even “tried dragging, but didn’t like that much,” they said.
Mr. Vorpahl died on June 13 at home in Amagansett. He was 49. His cause of death was not yet known.
The large turnout at his service on June 19 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton was “a tribute to my son,” his mother, Sandra M. Vorpahl, said. The Rev. Robert Stuart officiated.
Born at Southampton Hospital on May 25, 1964, to William Vorpahl Sr. and the former Sandra King, he graduated from East Hampton High School. In addition to working with his uncle, Mr. Vorpahl also ran the family business, Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett, for a time, and then continued to run it briefly after it was sold to Braun Oyster in the late 1980s.
He was an active member of the East Hampton Baymen’s Association for many years.
“Many years ago, Wayne was doing the oyster transplant at Oyster Pond with other baymen,” his mother wrote. “On the way to the pond, Wayne had a flat tire and no spare.” His uncle, Dan King, offered to lend him a spare and told him to get out his jack. “Wayne replied: ‘What do I need a jack for if I have no spare?’ That’s pretty much how Wayne viewed life,” she said.
Mr. Vorpahl married Donna Sadowsky shortly after high school and had a daughter, Stephanie, with her. The marriage ended in divorce.
In 1995, Mr. Vorpahl moved to Hampstead, N.C., with his then girlfriend, Bonnie Wright, helping to raise her daughter, Erin Wright, and the daughter they had together, Brooke. He worked at a fish house in Wilmington, and enjoyed clamming, crabbing, oystering, and fishing while living there.
He returned to Bonac in 2003 and went back to work on the water. He also worked at his brother, William’s, garage, T & B Auto in Amagansett.
He was a loving father to his daughters and was always willing to help those who needed it, his family wrote.
In addition to his mother, who lives in Amagansett, he is survived by his daughters, Stephanie Vorpahl of Springs and Brooke Vorpahl of East Hampton, and by his brother, William A. Vorpahl Jr. of Amagansett, and a grandchild. He also leaves a nephew, many aunts and uncles, and many cousins. Mr. Vorpahl’s father died before him.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the Amagansett Ambulance Squad, P.O. Box 470, Amagansett 11930, or the East Hampton Baymen’s Association, P.O. Box 498, Amagansett.