On Wednesday April 10th, 2019, David Vohs, loving father, brother, son, and partner; set sail on his final voyage. David was born on September 10th, 1951 in LeGrande, Oregon to Chester Corbett Vohs and Leona “Jackie” Vohs ‘nee Harer, who preceded him in death. David graduated from Union High School in Sandy, Oregon; and later studied at Oregon State and Harvard Universities, and Edmonds Community College.
Never one to do things the easy or conventional way, David became a self-taught expert on a dizzying array of topics; which he would humbly tell you he knew, “just enough to be dangerous” about. After constructing a homestead for his expectant family on a remote Oregon mountain, he delivered his first child when the midwife was delayed by a flat tire. It was on that same mountain homestead where he began one of his first boat building projects, a 28’ wooden Ketch he christened White Squall. He later trucked the boat off the mountain and shipped her to Sitka, Alaska to finish and launch. Asked at the White Squall’s launch if he was happy to be finished with the project he remarked, “a boats not finished until it hits the bottom”.
He began working in Alaska as a Commercial Fisherman in the late 1970’s. He made his home in Sitka, Alaska for a decade; living on his sail and fishing boats, and later building a house on a nearby island. He fell in love with the raw beauty of Alaska, the State’s pioneer spirit perfectly matched his super-human work ethic. He thrived in Alaska; working as both Captain and crew of numerous fishing boats and building early versions of his custom aluminum utility skiffs in his shop between seasons.
Following nearly a decade in Alaska, he settled in Port Townsend, Washington where he owned and partnered in a series of boat building and repair businesses. He continued to work seasonally as a Commercial Fisherman while perfecting his signature boat design, a heavy work-horse utility skiff designed for the Pacific Northwest; which he built under the name Lee Shore Marine, Swift Sure Craft. He built his boats under Lee Shore Marine for many years, eventually selling the business and designs and attempting to retire. Retirment seemed to be the one thing he wasn’t that good at, and he enjoyed returning to the Port Townsend Boat Haven to work with old friends and share his shipbuilding knowledge with the new generations learning the trade. He was passionate about traditional sailing and shipbuilding and was dedicated to ensuring the trade continues.
David was equally passionate about playing music and traveling. He was a talented guitarist and vocalist who enjoyed performing at open mic nights in both Alaska and Port Townsend, and recorded an album of his favorite songs in 2013, with the support of several close friends. David’s friends and family will miss his sense of humor, his beautiful music, and his stories from a life well lived.
His family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Tall Ship Adventuress, Sound Experience program to support youth environmental and maritime heritage education.
He is survived by his children Alicia Allard & Jesse Vohs and their Mother, Nancy Blackmer; Grandchildren Lilliana “Raven” and Chetan Allard; Brothers Len and Ken Vohs and their families; Loving Partner Tichrahn Oflaherty; numerous close friends and colleagues, and the many boats he built and restored. A celebration of his life is being planned in the near future.