Ginny Osterholt Filiatraut wasn’t just a friend, she was a pioneer and a mentor, who helped me steer a course through often times murky waters. Ginny lost her battle with aggressive ovarian cancer at the age of 78, after a courageous fight. Her husband Jacques was at her side always as was their dog Buddy at their home in Punta Gorda, Florida.
I got to know Ginny when I was Editor of the Commodore’s Bulletin for the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). I had recently landed in Fort Lauderdale after my husband and I had cruised from California, taking four years to cruise. It was my first job as an editor and since Ginny had held the very same position (as well as Office Manager, Treasurer, Secretary and Director of the Board!), and she always had both words of encouragement as well as direction for me.
Moving on to cruising magazines after my three-year stint, I kept in touch with Ginny via email and tried to offer her the same support she gave me when she would run up against push-back with a new Board of Directors or expressed her opinions about how the organization should be run.
Ginny became Editor in 1975, helping to move the fledgeling organization from California to South Florida. SSCA went with her when ever she moved and her enthusiasm for the group never wavered. Born on October 3, 1936, she was an only child who started sailing early, at the age of 9. She helped her dad build a sailing dinghy to sail around in Santa Monica, California and later, at age 12 she lived aboard a 34′ Seagoer yawl with her dad. By the age of 15, she bought her own 12′ lap-strake sailing dinghy to rebuild. She met the founders of the SSCA who lived aboard in Coronado and joined in 1955 when she was living aboard her 37′ Hanna Carol, Bojac (a requirement back then!) and just 18 years old. Over the 55 years that she was involved with SSCA, she contributed immensely. In her own words, Ginny described her first experiences as a live aboard in San Diego…
“We were a very close knit family and shared the dream of cruising and living aboard! Camaradarie was strong as we caringly helped each other in so many ways as were the SSCA traditions formed by our Founders in 1952!” (SSCA Commodore’s Bulletin, November 2007).
She spent the last six months of her life working tirelessly again for SSCA, gathering all of her photos of her time with the organization, some 90 albums, for scanning, and was finally honored recently with the title of SSCA Historian. She would have celebrated 60 years as an SSCA Commodore this June.
It was her tenacity, talent and trust that made her a lifetime sailor and often times a thorn in the side of SSCA’s directors and managers. She always had an opinion and wasn’t shy about sharing it, often in the form of long-winded emails to everyone on her list. Though there were times when she was “off-base” with regard to a given topic, Ginny usually had something to say that needed to be heard. She was truly the glue that kept this important organization together. Her truth will be missed.
88’s Dear One…