Capt. Frank Ready will always be known for his faith, fishing and love of family
The retired captain died Tuesday in his home in Destin.
For Ready's obituary, click here.
"He was a good honest man," said Capt. Harold Staples of the charter boat Al-Lin. "He was always congenial, polite and upfront with folks. He was a first class gentleman."
"He liked being on the water … but people more," Staples said. "He was a good guy."
His wife, who has written a column for The Log for more than a decade, said Frank was the ultimate people person.
"I'm finding out things in the community … that I never knew," she said.
As a matter of fact when she went to West Marine to buy him a captain’s hat for his burial, a man named Ed who was at the counter, said "No I'm paying for it." Mary said she didn't even know the gentleman or that he knew Frank.
Although he'll be missed by many, Mary said she’ll miss his love for adventure most.
"He was always up for something new. I was the old stick in the mud," she said.
A few years ago, Frank wanted to go to the mud races in Andalusia.
"That was the last thing I wanted to do," she said. However, they made the trek and camped there as well.
"I got where I liked it," she admitted.
Mary got him to try something new with her — the ballet.
He went along but started snoring through the performance. Mary punched him and he went out and got some lemonade, she said.
"At least he went," Mary said.
Capt. Frank, originally from Philadelphia, was a young boy when his family moved to Fort Walton Beach in 1951. He later met and married Mary and the two moved to Destin in 1983 where they made their home on Kelly Street.
Ready didn't grow up on the docks like a lot of Destin's captains.
He bought his first boat in 1969, a 17-footer with an outboard motor. His next was a 32-foot Chris Craft, which he ran privately. He kept the Chris Craft for six or seven years.
In the meantime, Ready taught school at Fort Walton Beach High, and the boat was too expensive to keep up.
"It was eating up too much of our resources," Ready told The Log in a sit-down interview in his home seven years ago.
So he sold it and started working with Capt. Charlie Burgess on the VIP (now the Fish-N-Fool). It was while he was working with Burgess that he got his captain's license.
"The day I got my license, I can remember walking down the hill there at Kelly Docks (the current HarborWalk docks) and saying, 'Hey Charlie — I've got my licenses.' "
And he replied, "Hey Frank, I've got my golf clubs."
Ready ran the boat for Burgess for three years, before he sold it.
In 1979, Ready bought a 40-foot Willis and named it Ever Ready. After fishing it for about four years, he sold it and bought the Second Chance, a 46-footer he finally sold in 2007.
And the name of the boat, Second Chance, was more than just a name to Ready.
"It means born again … and has given me many opportunities to witness," Ready told The Log in that sit-down interview, noting that it gave him the chance to tell the significance behind the name.
"He was a very sharing and giving man," said Capt. Tommy Carter of the Blue Runner II.
Not only did Carter fish along side Ready, but he taught school with him at Fort Walton Beach as well.
While Ready was teaching school, he couldn't wait for the weekend. He taught business education at Fort Walton Beach High and then served his last 16 years at the high school as a guidance counselor.
"He was a lot of fun, and he enjoyed fishing," Carter said.
Pat Meyers, who worked as a deckhand for Ready for a little while said, "He was a good Christian guy. And he didn't just talk about it." He lived it, Meyers said.
"He was a very relaxed fisherman,” added Capt. Robert Broestler, who worked as a deckhand for Ready. “It totally relaxed him when he got out their on the water. And he really liked talking to the customers."
And cracking wise, as well.
"He was a silly man," Mary Ready said. "I would just roll my eyes.”
"But I'd give anything for one of his silly jokes now," she said.
The first time Frank Ready took the Second Chance offshore, he caught a blue marlin and then two white marlin the next day. The most notable person who has fished with Ready was Chief Justice Warren Burger, now deceased.
The largest fish Ready ever pulled in was a 485-pound hammerhead shark. The catch that Ready was most proud of was a 38.4-pound red grouper. He hooked it on a two-hook leader rig. "He snatched me clear down to the rail," Ready told The Log in a sit-down interview in his home in 2007.