On Dec. 15, we learned that former Cape Fear Sail & Power Squadron member Ed LoBalbo passed away due to complications from COVID-19. He and his wife Sue joined the Squadron in 2011. Ed quickly immersed himself within the Squadron, winning the Corinthian Award in 2012, the Membership Involvement Award in 2013, and the Education Award in 2014.
In 2014 Ed became the Squadron Education Officer. Ed came up with the idea after idea to breathe life into the Squadron Education Department and especially our America’s Boating Course. Under his leadership, we revamped the curriculum, added multiple instructors for the day, and added an on-the-water segment that utilized squadron boats to take students out to demonstrate the concepts we had learned in class. His ideas and implemented strategies resulted in many awards for the squadron that continue to this day.
After a few cold winter rides on squadron boats, he came up with the idea of partnering with Wilmington Water Tours and using their 45-foot catamaran as a teaching platform. We had record-breaking crowds of students, and they all loved it.
Ed was a pleasure to watch in the classroom! He took the Rules of the Road section and redid it, casting himself as “Brad Pitt,” repeatedly reminding students that this is what “Brad” would want you to remember. He taught us that these classes weren’t for us but for the students, and we needed to make class fun for them and to always come prepared.
Ed became the Executive Officer in 2017 and brought the same magic to the VSE program. While we have tweaked some things along the way, our success over the years can be attributed to Ed’s vision.
We will all remember and miss Ed as a key flame behind the squadron’s growth and success. We wish him blessings as he crosses the bar on his way home. -Otis J White