Portraits of My Friend Commodore Jay Deeds at 93
A Tribute to My Friend Jay
My interest in portrait photography increased several years ago year when I found myself sitting on a deck overlooking Lake St. Clair across from my friend Jay Deeds with whom I share the same surname. Around the time I first started sailing thirty some years ago people often asked me if I was "Jay's boy." As the years wore on the questions changed to "Are you related to Jay?" My usual answer was "not so far as I know, but I could be."
Jay was one of the most unusual characters in the Detroit sailing scene. Just about everybody has a Jay story. Jay set the marks of the DRYA small boat course for more than 30 years in his Lyman lapstrake "Septet." His conversations on the marine radio with the principal race officer about the precise wind direction and appropriate location of the windward mark were legendary among the racers waiting for the starting gun on Saturdays throughout the summer.
On this particular August day in 2008, I asked Jay if he minded if I took a few pictures of him while he was having a few glasses of wine before dinner. When he hesitated, I pursued my goal with "Jay, you're not going to be around all that much longer, and we'll need a few good pictures for your wake!" To which Jay sputtered, "I'll be around long enough to dance on your grave!" or words to that effect. But that only meant that he was flattered that I would want to take his picture. Knowing that Jay still fancied himself a lady's man, I invited several of the best looking ladies nearby to participate in the photo shoot. Anyway, I clicked off around 150 pictures then and the following afternoon of "The Commodore." I hope some of them may provide insight into the secrets of long life. Here they are.
(In case you wondered, Jay was back again at 93 setting the race marks on the DRYA C Course, still sharp as a tack although his back wasn't as straight as it used to be.)
8 Bells for Commodore C. Jay Deeds
The memorial service for past Commodore C. Jay Deeds will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 2pm at the Tompkins Center, Windmill Pointe Park.