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Reflections On This Glen-L Family Business

On June 3, 2020, in News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk

Times are so tough and folks are hurting everywhere. As I was working on the current Glen-L Newsletter, I really wanted to bring some bit of joy to you, but I couldn’t think of anything. So, I said a brief prayer asking God to bring something up if that’s what I’m supposed to do.

Then Brian called with questions about our Albert E design. Shortly before he called, I had opened up a a folder on my desk and saw a note from my dad. You see, we re-use everything because we want to be good stewards of what we have. This note made me cry because I miss my dad.

So, back to the Albert E. I told Brian that my dad had named this boat after his father whose name was Albert Ernest Witt. And, he also dedicated the book, Boatbuilding with Plywood, to him and it reads:



ever patient, understanding, helpful, and guiding.

My grandfather lived with us for several years when I was growing up and I can attest to the fact that he was all of those things stated above. As was my father. My dad wasn’t an emotive man (unless he’d had a Manhattan cocktail or two), so the book dedication was really something for him to do.

My dad’s parents divorced at some point and then his mom passed away when he was 12 from consumption–also known as TB. His dad then moved back into the house to take care of he and his brother. His mom had a housekeeper named Rose Marie who was divorced and had a young son. Eventually, Grandpa figured he should probably marry her which he did. Interestingly enough, I recently got an email from Rose Marie’s grandson looking for information about the father he never knew…

And so I ramble on. Anyway, my grandpa was one of the kindest men I’ve known. When I was in High School, I walked into his room and he said, “you know, you can wear anything and make it look like a million bucks.” If you know teenage girls, you can appreciate the confidence a comment like that provides.

So, what I’m getting at is that our family and history is intertwined in Glen-L Marine. Here’s a bit of inside info on other boat names:

Albert E – I already mentioned this, but my dad probably named this after grandpa because he liked to fish and they had a cabin cruiser that they took to the lake frequently.

Audeen – Named after my dad’s girlfriend (long before he married my mom), Audrey Green, who was much younger than him and he dated her for a couple of years but wasn’t really serious. He always regretted that he probably took advantage of her. After they broke up, she married someone else a couple of months later.

Bingo – My mom, Vera Irene Witt, was a Bingo fanatic! When I was young, she played for prizes like the pretty little lamps that sat on my dresser growing up. Later, it was cash. She spent a lot of time at the local Catholic churches, that’s for sure.

Ke-Pau – Named after Dad’s great-grandchildren Kelly and Paul which he designed in 2004. The entire line of kid boats he started in August of 1994. My son Ryan passed away in September of that year. It took a while to get that line started back up…

Glen L. Witt with Kelly & Paul Witt–his great-grandchildren in 2008
Ryan (1982 – 1994) – in the Kid-Row test model in the swimming pool–he had no clothes on, so we threw a towel on him. I miss him like crazy.

Mai Tai – I can’t say for sure on this one, but there were some cocktail parties at our home when I was growing up and though my mom wasn’t much of a drinker, I do believe she liked a good Mai Tai.

The backyard of our mid-century home in 1959 shortly after it was built. My dad designed this home. Interestingly, he didn’t know how to swim at the time. He was on boats and skiing frequently, yet never learned to swim. Eventually, he learned and then taught me too.
The bar in my Dad’s den aka “Man Cave”. The wood on the walls (as in his office too) was not your typical paneling, it was solid mahogany planks.

Sherwood Queen – After designing and building the house and then the office, the next was our Cabin in Lake Sherwood. Thus, this name.

Our cabin was an A-Frame with another A-Frame intersecting it. The two upstairs bedrooms had balconies as well as the front. My sister’s bedroom was the one on the left and she used to tie a rope around me and lower me down from that balcony in front of the kitchen window–mom would get so mad at her, but I loved it!
Our weekend cabin on Lake Sherwood in California. This development is now a gated and very exclusive community. Dad sold the cabin in about 1984. He made the staircase with a nautical vibe. The handrail was inlaid wood. The entire cabin was planked with knotty pine and the kitchen cabinets dad made were made from a variation of knotty pine with smaller knots.

Sissy Do – Many of you know this story. My sister was 10 years older than me, so when I was a few years old, I would often say “Sissy do” to get help from her. When my dad was building this boat he asked me what I wanted to name her and you know the rest!

My Sissy Janet driving and a friend in the Sissy Do on Lake Sherwood. I still call her Sissy. My dad called her “Fastso” because she was skinny! He called me “Henrietta” which was his mother’s name.

Vera Cruise – This was named after my mom, Vera. I miss her too…

Mom and me around 1961
Vera and her twin (fraternal) sister Vena. Mom also had identical twin brothers.
Glen & Vera in the L Dorado

I hope this was a pleasant break and want to share one more thing with you, a reminder I recently had for myself and hopefully it will help you from Philipians 4:8-9:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Your Thoughts?

15 Responses to Reflections On This Glen-L Family Business

  1. Melissa Fannon says:

    Hi Gayle…..I loved how you described finding that note from your dad. I have some of my dad’s notes to me … he died when he was 57. Such things are so special now!
    Melissa Fannon
    Columbus, OH
    Aquatron (AmpEater)

  2. Jonathan Thompson says:

    Just found your site for a reason. My grandmother just passed and this weekend my grandfather was sharing with me about the ski boats he designed and built for the family during the 50’s through the 70’s in Turlock. I think it’s my turn. Thanks for these stories & the motivation. Time to learn and gear up for the build. Blessings!

  3. Rusty Dockery says:

    I mentioned this verse to my wife this morning but couldn’t recall the reference. Then, here you are providing it. “Think on these things …”

  4. Mark Masters says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share some personal family memories and feelings.
    Those sure were different times from now. Thank you for carrying on the tradition of boat building and helping people find some happiness.

  5. Joe Buck says:

    As you have many times, you’ve brought me to tears as you bare your heart with your simple honesty and humanness. Thank you for being so real and for keeping me on your mailing list.

    Sincerely, Joe

  6. Bill Merkin says:

    Back in the late 50’s, I built the Rebel…just wondering where that name originated ?

    Bill Merkin

  7. Brett McCauley says:

    Hi Gayle,
    Thank you so much for sharing that insight into your family. A bittersweet look back at the family and places that shaped the person you are.
    Your father not only designed great boats but fantastic buildings. Your family home and lake cabin look wonderful. I love the story of your sister hanging you over the balcony.
    Elizabeth, my wife had four older brothers and when the family travelled to Canada by boat in the mid 60’s they would hang her over the side by her ankles. They all thought it was great fun! Never told her parents, though. I let it slip in a conversation with her Dad many years later, thinking he knew. He turned grey and was very quiet for a time. I guess that is the beauty of remembering things past, it means we are still here to think on it.
    Thank you, again.
    Brett McCauley
    Brisbane. Australia.

  8. Ralph Reagan says:

    This is why I’m a Glen-L fan. I love your family. Thanks for sharing.

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