Wayne Vorpahl of Amagansett, known to many as “Skeeter,” died June 13. He was 49.
Born May 25, 1964, in Southampton, he was a fisherman and bayman on the East End for many years. He started fishing with his uncle Dan King’s haulseine crew while still in high school, and also went baiting, crabbing, eeling, trapping and clamming, depending on the season. At one time, he tried dragging offshore with boats out of Montauk, but did much not care much for it, survivors said. His passion for haulseining took a severe blow when the state banned the practice in the 1980s.
After graduation from East Hampton High School, Mr. Vorpahl married Donna Sadowsky, and in 1991 they had a daughter, Stephanie, who like her father has a love for the water. The marriage ended in divorce.
For a time, Mr. Vorpahl ran the family business, Stuart’s Seafood, and he continued to run it for a while after it was purchased by Braun Oyster Company in the late 1980s.
In 1995, Mr. Vorpahl moved to North Carolina to be with his girlfriend, Bonnie Wright. He helped raise her daughter, Erin Wright. While in North Carolina, he worked at a fish house in Wilmington and also went oystering, crabbing and clamming “every chance he got,” according to his family. In 1999, his daughter Brooke was born. After the couple split up, Mr. Vorpahl returned in 2003 to Amagansett, where he immediately took to the water again. He worked for a time at his brother’s garage, T&B Auto in Amagansett. He also was a member of the East Hampton Baymen’s Association.
Mr. Vorpahl’s family said that this past spring he went clamming, crabbing and eeling with 83-year-old Harry Lester and joked that he had to do most of the work, but loved every minute of it.
Survivors said he was a loving father to his daughters and a kind and gentle man willing to help anyone.
Predeceased by his father, William A. Vorpahl Sr., he is survived by his mother, Sandra M. Vorpahl of Amagansett; and his two daughters, Stephanie Vorpahl of Springs and Brooke Vorpahl of East Hampton. He is also survived by a grandchild, Dixon Bennett of Springs, and a nephew, Thomas Vorpahl of Amagansett. Other surviving relatives include aunts and uncles, Dan and Marsha King of North Carolina, Stuart and Mary Vorpahl of East Hampton, Pat Zuba of Amagansett, Judy and Scotty Bennett of Amagansett, Eleanor Miller of East Hampton, and Vivian and Jack Edwards of Florida; and many cousins. An uncle, Gordon Vorpahl, predeceased him.
Funeral services were held June 19 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton.
Memorial donations may be made to Amagansett Ambulance, P.O. Box 470, Amagansett, NY 11930 or the East Hampton Baymen’s Association, P.O. Box 498, Amagansett, NY 11930.