Letter- It doesn’t get any easier - A tribute to Jerry Ceis

Once again the Seafair Pirates are saying Farewell to a respected and honored friend.

Jerry Ceis closed the circle last week and we now can commit his memory to Davy Jones Locker. The loss of any Pirate is a poignant moment for the crew of Moby Duck and probably more touching when it’s one such as Jerry who had ascended to our most exalted position of Captain Kidd.

Our image is that of a bunch of booze swilling, woman chasing, cutthroat Pirates. This is an image more flight of the imagination than fact, which makes it more difficult to maintain, I might add. All the while Seafair Pirates have had a dedication to community involvement which cannot be challenged. Baring in mind these two considerations there was no way Jerry could have lived in Seattle and not have become a Seafair Pirate.

Those who knew him best would admit to his roguish ways. He was his own man. In an era when superficial elements will shape societies direction, Jerry for better or worse would proclaim in action and deed, allow me to be my own man. The Seafair Pirates gave Jerry a way to release some of his inner Pirate charm onto an audience ready to be captivated by his roguish ways. He was a handful, but loved at many levels.
We can take the grief of Jerry’s death because we shared in the joy of his life. Over the 60 plus years that Seafair Pirates have existed our Pirate Logs were filled with the names of Pirates who we shared these joys. For it is not the individual that has carried the Seafair Pirates all these years but the collective, the team, the hundreds who have given of themselves unselfishly. But in amongst the collective periodically an individual emerges.

Take Weaver Dial who single handedly kept the Seafair Pirates together in the late 50’s and into the 60’s. Take Bob Staunton who, amongst other things, fought for and convinced the Seafair Pirates to go to New Orleans for Marti Gras in 1970. Take Dick Munsell who was a driving force in keeping the Pirates together during a low period in our history. Or take Bob Odman who, as a multi-term President, helped to put some self confidence back into the Pirates and helped bring them into the 21st Century. There are way too many members that cleared a little higher bar to mention here but allow me to mention one more, Jerry Ceis.

Jerry was the Pirate who visited Grand Cayman Island in 1980 and convinced the governing body of Grand Cayman community to invite the Seattle Seafair Pirates to participate in their internationally known Pirate Week. And the Seafair Pirates have been invited back every year for over 30 years.

Jerry Ceis was an unusual individual.

As we lose these Pirates it doesn’t get easier for they will certainly be missed. But we do have a saving knowledge. We know that we have Pirates in our group today and we will bring in new Pirates who will generate the odysseys we require, as Jerry so cleverly accomplished.

Jerry, you will be missed.

A Seattle Seafair Pirate

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