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Remembering Alan Sterling

You may not know the name Alan Sterling. But if you’ve ever driven toward Compo Beach in the winter, you know his boat.

Alan built it out of wood, himself. He named it “Gloria” — for an old girlfriend — and he took it oystering. He once leased 150 acres of oyster beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island, from the state. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.

In recent years though, poachers took quite a bit of joy — and millions of oysters — from him.

Alan Sterling culls his oysters.

In the winter, Alan moored “Gloria” — named for an old girlfriend — in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach Road and the Longshore exit.

Some winters, he lived on the boat. It was cold, but it was home.

This year, Alan spent a lot of time fixing up “Gloria.” He finished the repairs in early July, and was ready to go out for another season.

On July 4, Alan had a massive heart attack as he was leaving the VA Hospital in West Haven. He died right there.

I did not know Alan well. But I knew the boat, and I knew how passionate he was about oysters.

If only he could have gone out to his beloved beds, one more time.


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