Gould A. (“Stretch”) Ryder III of Mattituck and Port Washington, accomplished sailor, pilot, businessman, civic leader and steward of the beautiful waterfront of Port Washington, passed away Oct. 24 at The Amsterdam at Harborside Hospice Center in Port Washington.
Born May 5, 1948, Stretch is survived by his wife, Gerry; two sons, Michael and Christopher, both of Tampa, Fla.; his mother, Lois Ryder of Mattituck; his sister, Deborah (Jeffrey) Skovron of Boulder, Colo.; his brother, Sean, of Newburg, N.Y.; and several nieces and nephews who loved him as the force of nature that he was. His wide-ranging circle of friends knew him as a person of warmth, immediately likeable, with a first-rate sense of humor; tenacious in all he undertook.
His life is marked by numerous personal contributions and accomplishments. A graduate of Alfred University, Stretch played football during his college career. He was a captain in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, serving as a helicopter pilot and aviation maintenance officer throughout Southeast Asia and as a liaison officer for SEATO nations.
Stretch loved being on the water and spent many summers in Mattituck racing and teaching sailing at Mattituck Yacht Club. His many accomplishments in sailing include winning the Bacardi Cup in the Star class and participating in Grand Prix sailing events worldwide with John Thomson, including the Farr 40 National Championship; winning two Key West Race weeks and the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii; and sailing seven Bermuda Races. His most memorable sailing was in 1977 when he was a member of the crew of “Courageous,” which won the America’s Cup. His teammates affectionately referred to Stretch as “my brother from another mother.” He maintained a close bond with these men throughout the past 36 years. More recently, Stretch’s passion for sailing led him to pursue the hobby of building and racing radio-controlled models on Mill Pond in Port Washington and at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
Stretch had a business in Port Washington, The Dinghy Den, before joining Thomson Industries Inc. in 1977. Under the Thomson umbrella, his responsibilities varied from corporate helicopter pilot to sales engineer and product manager, assistant to the chairman, director of operations for Capri Marinas, vice president of Ventura Yachts and general manager of Ventura Air Services. He was also corporate liaison to the community, serving as an active member of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District.
His expertise on the issues of waterfront business and the environment allowed him to serve in key leadership roles on numerous local and state boards, advisory committees and trade associations. He was a respected and important voice supporting the sustainability of the Port Washington business and boating community. A founder of Port Washington’s Annual HarborFest celebration and the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District, he had also been vice president of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce (2003 Businessperson of the Year), president of the New York Marine Trades Association and a committee member of Long Island Coastal, among many other things.
A tribute to and celebration of Stretch’s life will be held Friday, Nov. 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club in Port Washington. Stretch’s family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Amsterdam Continuing Care Health System, Inc. Hospice Fund and sent to The Amsterdam at Harborside, 300 East Overlook, Port Washington, NY 11050, Attn: Finance Dept.
This is a paid notice.