July 8, 2005 Per Dohm, who owned Dohm's Water Taxi at Red Hook, St. Thomas, died Thursday at home after a long illness. He was 67.
Dohm took over the water taxi business from his father, Peter Dohm, in 1959.
He was born in Miami while his parents were on an around-the-world sailing adventure. He and his mother, Elsa, waited out World War II in Denmark. In 1949, they joined his father on St. Thomas. The family moved to Red Hook in 1950.
In a 1994 interview with this reporter, Dohm talked about the early days in Red Hook. He said his father renamed the pier from Shark Wharf to Red Hook so tourists wouldn't be frightened away.
He said he was glad he could buy fresh apples and that he had the opportunity to earn money to pay for them, but that development had taken its toll on the Red Hook environment.
"But I still love it here," he said.
As news of Dohm's death circulated, people remembered him in many different ways.
"He would jump in a boat at any time to give service to the community," his wife of 25 years, Lynn Dohm, said.
She said he would wake up out of a sound sleep to ferry someone across Pillsbury Sound to St. John on the water taxi and return home to go back to bed.
"He wasn't cranky about it," she said.
In addition to his wife, Dohm is survived by sons Guy and Erik on St. Thomas; sisters Anna Dohm Nose on St. John, Rosanna Dohm on St. Thomas, and Jolly Dohm in California. Additionally, Dohm is survived by his brother, Lars Dohm, in Florida, and a nephew, Hans Dohm, in California.
Nearly four years ago Dohm's daughter, Capt. Fawn Dohm — who was a captain for Dohm's Water Taxi — died of a brain aneurysm.
Many people spoke of Dohm's kindness.
"He was such a nice guy. He was nice all through his life," longtime friend Rudy Thompson said.
Another longtime friend, John Foster said he first met Dohm in 1961 at Sapphire Beach, St. Thomas. Foster had just arrived from sailing across the Atlantic.
He said that Dohm was on the beach with a small sailboat called a sailfish and took him out for a sail. The sailing Sundays continued for a number of years.
"He convinced me more than anybody that I'd arrived in the right place," Foster said adding that Dohm was a brilliant sailor.
Dohm raced in the Finn class at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
"You have to be unthinkably fit to do that," Thompson said.
John Hamber, a former St. Thomas resident who now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., called Dohm a pioneer in transportation to St. John.
"And he was a hell of a guy," Hamber said.
Dohm's sister, Anna Dohm Nose, said that her brother was always bringing her fish from his fishing expeditions.
"He'd ask what kind of fish I wanted for dinner. I'd say Spanish mackerel and he'd get it," she said.
Rich Difede, who owns Gold Coast Yachts on St. Croix, said Dohm gave the company the opportunity to develop the wave-piercer type of boats used at Dohm's Water Taxi.
"We want to thank him for believing in us and the wave piercer," Difede said.
Difede said Dohm was a friend to everyone in the marine industry and that he was a kind man who had lot of energy.
"And he got along with people," Difede said.
Nancy Firestone, manager at St. Thomas Yacht Club, said Dohm was always ready to lend a hand.
"He was a wonderful and great guy, and he'll be sorely missed," she said.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 17 at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
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