Tag Archives: Bruce McFadden

Gloria Drifts Away

For years, “Gloria” was a glorious sight.

Alan Sterling built the wooden oyster boat himself. He named it after an old girlfriend, and took it oystering on 150 acres of beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.

Alan moored Gloria 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.

On July 4, 2014, Alan died of a massive heart attack.

Since then, Gloria has just kind of drifted. She was Alan’s baby, and now he’s gone.

The other day, “06880” reader Bruce McFadden spotted Gloria abandoned, on the Gray’s Creek shore.

Gloria, on the Gray's Creek shore. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Gloria, on the Gray’s Creek shore. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

He wonders if anyone has plans for the boat. The Honda outboard has value. Perhaps, he says, funds from its sale could be used to place a plaque or bench at Longshore’s E.R. Strait Marina, honoring one of Westport’s last commercial fishermen.

Alan Sterling’s “Gloria” (Updated)

Many Westporters were saddened to learn of the death of Alan Sterling — Westport’s hard-working native oysterman.

Bruce McFadden went to his photography collection.

“I spoke with him several times at the E.R. Strait Marina, where he kept his boat,” McFadden says.

“When Alan learned I was a former Staples chemistry teacher, he said some of the best years of his life were spent there. He spoke in glowing terms of the school.”

Bruce gave Alan a photo of his beloved “Gloria” — one of the last surviving commercial boats in Westport.

Alan built it himself. They sure don’t make ’em like that — like Alan, or “Gloria” — anymore.

(Photo/Bruce McFadden)

(Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Meanwhile, here’s another photo, sent later today by JP Vellotti. It shows Gloria the day after Hurricane Sandy.

Soon enough, Alan had her shipshape, and back on the water.

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

(Photo/JP Vellotti)