Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Great Lakes captain started as a deckhand

A. Cornelius Zyp, a former captain of ore freighters on the Great Lakes who later piloted the Arawanna II tour boat, died Tuesday at Alterra Clare Bridge of Charlotte, N.C. He was 98.

He died after recent hospital stays for pneumonia and broken bones, family members said.

Captain Zyp, of Charlotte, was born in Holland and came to this country in 1927. He moved to the Toledo area in the late 1930s, living in Point Place for about 35 years before moving to North Carolina in 1992 to be closer to relatives.

When he first arrived in America, Captain Zyp spent a few years living in Baltimore during the winter and working aboard a Great Lakes freighter during the shipping season. He was laid off in 1933, and worked odd jobs in Baltimore before returning to a Great Lakes ore freighter four years later.

He started as a deckhand and worked his way up through the ranks, earning the title of captain in 1966.

Ore played a major part in the war effort, so Captain Zyp was appointed lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve during World War II.

“He had a lot of men who respected him very much on the ship,” his grandson, Bill Zyp, said.

During the off-season, Captain Zyp served as assistant captain and later captain of the Port of Toledo.

Captain Zyp hit the mandatory retirement age of 65 in 1969, so he reluctantly left his post at the helm of his freighter.

But he did not abandon the seagoing life. He was the captain of the Arawanna II for several years in the 1970s. The boat left from downtown Toledo for Maumee River tours.

Captain Zyp was active for many years in the International Shipmasters Association, a social group. He was grand president of the organization in 1967, and enjoyed traveling to its annual conventions.

“He was very outgoing,” his son, Neil Zyp, said. “He was always out dancing and talking to people. If they called a square dance, he was ready.”

He also was a longtime member of Zenobia Shrine in Toledo. He served as secretary and treasurer and helped with several fund-raisers.

In retirement, he traveled to Europe and toured his native Holland. He also enjoyed woodworking.

Surviving are his wife of 66 years, Mary E. Zyp; son, Neil Zyp, and two grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the McEwen Funeral Home, Charlotte, where the body will be after 7 p.m. today.

The family requests tributes to Hospice at Charlotte or St. Francis United Methodist Church in Charlotte.

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