Captain Floyd Lowell Michelson, a longtime Kitsap County resident, died Sunday at his home in Seabeck following a short illness. He was 90.
Floyd was born on February 7, 1929, to Alfred and Floy Michelson in Ballard. He spent his early youth on Indian Island, before moving with his family to Port Townsend to make way for the construction of the Indian Island naval depot in 1941.
In Port Townsend, the family lived in an old Victorian mansion where Floyd and his siblings would roller skate on the otherwise vacant third floor. The family later moved to Irondale, his father having used the old timbers from the mansion to build a new home on a high bank above the beach.
Despite an abbreviated formal education, he never stopped learning, especially about the sea. During his middle teenage years, alongside his brother Pete, Floyd worked as a tugboat crewman for Cotton Construction, towing barges from Port Townsend through the Ballard Locks to Lake Union. He also worked for Washington Tug and Barge on routes between Puget Sound and Alaska.
In 1948, he met Dolores Ross, who was working at the Crown Zellerbach paper mill in Port Townsend at the time.
Floyd was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and served two years in the Boat Battalion of the 369th Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment based at Fort Worden. During his time in the service he spent time in Greenland, California and France.
During his two-year hitch with the Army, he signed up for an even longer commitment when he married Dolores on November 17, 1951, at First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo. Two years later, their son, Bruce, was born, followed two years later by daughter Frances.
In the late 1950s, after working for Olympic Ferries on the Port Townsend-Keystone route for several years, Floyd and his family moved to Poulsbo as he started working as a master for the Washington State Ferries. If you commuted across Puget Sound or Hood Canal at any point in the 1960s or 1970s, there’s a good chance Floyd was the boat’s skipper.
In 1979, he became a ship pilot, specializing in navigating the challenging waters of Puget Sound and its connecting inland waterways. He retired in 1992. Floyd’s love of working on the Sound was passed down to his son, Bruce, who followed in his footsteps as a ferry captain and then as a Puget Sound Pilot, and to his grandson Joel who is currently a captain for the state ferries.
In his spare time, Floyd enjoyed crabbing, shrimping, clamming, camping, and fishing. He restored two sailboats, the Four Winds and the Phalarope. He and Dolores also enjoyed traveling, spending several winters in Yuma, Arizona.
Dolores, his wife of more than 67 years, survives him at home. He is also survived by his son, Bruce (Susan), and daughter, Frances (Steve) Shaw; grandchildren Marcus (Tamara), Joel (Carly), Elisa (Brian) Olson, Jeffrey Boyle, Courtney Cole-Faso, and Jason (Natalie) Shaw; great-grandchildren Callen, Soren, and Ruby; his sister Elma; and Ron Carlson, who was like a second son to Floyd. He was preceded in death by three brothers (Pete, Harold, and Glenn) and one sister (Colleen).
A graveside service was held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 4 at Mountain View Cemetery in Poulsbo, followed by a reception at the home of Frances and Steve Shaw.
Floyd’s family would like to say a special thank you to Angel Next Door home health care service, and to the paramedics of Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Station 56.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Medic One Foundation in Floyd’s memory.
An online memorial can be seen at www.lewischapel.com