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fishing. We sold our catch at Seeley’s.”
Rohm says he really became enthralled with the ocean and
fishing as a youngster when the Wolkowsky family took him
along on a trip to the Bahamas on their boat.
“It was paradise,” he says. “The water was so beautiful and
the fish and lobsters were so plentiful. I was hooked then.”
The Wolkowsky family also had a Critchfield ski boat with
a 100-horse Johnson motor on it. Rohm says it was the biggest
motor along the river at that time. Rohm and Sammy
spent days practicing their skiing on the lagoon, filling up
with gas on the doctor’s account at the Pelican Yacht Club.
“I just fell into it here,” Rohm says. “Everyone was willing
In the 1970s, he and his father decided to buy a sailboat
together so they took a trip from Fort Pierce, along the coastal
roads, to the Columbia factory in Virginia, stopping at marinas
along the way looking for sailboats for sale.
It was at Miner’s Marina in Cocoa Beach where they even-
RONALD E. “Ronnie”
Lives in: St. Lucie Village
Family: Wife, Cathy;
daughters, Halley, Retta
and Gina; grandsons,
Easton and Liam
Education: Member of the
last class to graduate from
Dan McCarty High School;
attended Indian River Community College
Hobbies: Fishing, diving, sailing, hunting
Who or what inspires me: “The good Lord is at the wheel is
all I have to say.”
What is something most people don’t know about me: “I’m
a Yankee, but I think they have grandfathered me in. Also,
people don’t often know how religious I am.”
tually found what they wanted. It was a beautiful 34-foot
Columbia sailboat with a retractable centerboard that drafted
only 3 feet. The boat was named The Anhinga, known by fisherman
as the water turkey.
Wishing to stay in the village, Rohm started building
his first home on Old Dixie Highway. At that time, he was
working at the Chrysler facility near Harbor Branch, testing
outboard engines and boats.
It was only partially completed when Lee Iacocca took over
Chrysler and closed the local testing facility. Out of a job,
Rohm and his father sold the sailboat so he had the money to
finish his home.
For a time in the early ’80s, Rohm went to work for Herman
Summerlin, eventually becoming a crew member on the
Easy Money doing longline fishing out on the Gulf Stream.
“The Summerlins,” Rohm says, “just took you under their
wing.” Rohm remained a close friend with Herman Summerlin
and is still close friends with Summerlin’s family.
Switching to carpentry, Rohm did mostly home construction,
but also learned to build custom cabinets from Mike
Halsey at Halsey’s Workbench on Summerlin’s property.
Sometimes he replaced or added wood trim on boats.
“Christina Haynes of St. Lucie Village liked my work and
told me, ‘Some people have a lot of money and you need
to know them.’ She got me some work and gave me a little
One afternoon, Rohm’s friend, Paul Sinnott, was headed
to Dynamite Point for a beach day with his girlfriend now
wife, Anne Nelson, and invited Rohm to join them. Anne
brought her sister, Cathy, along for the outing.
After a long-distance romance – Cathy was studying
nursing at University of Alabama at Birmingham – the two
married and settled into a home along the lagoon. There
they raised three daughters, two of whom worked after college
with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association
ORCA. Just like their father before them, they worked out
on the water. Middle daughter, Retta, teaches marine science
at Fort Pierce Central High School.
Still a self-employed carpenter, Rohm always has a boat at
the ready for fun and fishing on the water, just as he has for
most of his life.
Rohm salvaged this windlass, once used to haul up the anchor on the pilot
boat captained by harbor master, Walter “Pug” Ergle, and is donating it to
the St. Lucie County Regional History Center.