June 4, 1942 – October 14, 2019
Ludger Willi Dochtermann died from a heart failure in his bed in Kodiak, Alaska on October 14, 2019, instead of on the deck of a boat, as we had all anticipated. He had been caring for his beloved grandson Henri, who we called Buddha Boy. Lu was born June 4, 1942, in Schwabisch Hall, Germany, where his father Hans, was stationed as a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe. Towards the end of the war Hans and his squadron transported their families to Denmark, where his mother, Linda, and his older brother, Michael, and soon to be be born sister, Birgitt, were kept in a Red Cross refugee camp for six months. Last year Lu wrote a letter of gratitude to the Danish government for the kindness and care that they received while interned. Returning to the devastation of Linda’s home town of Braunschweig, the family faced all the deprivations of post-war years - this was a grim time of pure survival. Lu’s home was in the British zone, and he always spoke kindly of the occupying forces that he lived under. The marriage of his parents was one of the many casualties of the war. His maternal family existed hand-to-mouth, living in primitive housing until their home was restored to them. Eventually his mother married an attorney, which provided a more affluent life for the family. Upon the death of his stepfather, Lu sought the liberation from his immediate family by immigrating to Olympia, Washington, under the sponsorship of his great Uncle Henri Schlottmann. At Centralia College he met his first wife, Sharon Johnson, and one of his many best friends, Jerry Swigart. Although this marriage was not to last, it provided two sons, Shawn and KC, with whom he maintained an irrevocable bond as their father. Lu and Stefani were married in 1969. Both were hopelessly and blindly in love, regardless of their tepremental differences. It was the time of the flower children, but Lu couldn’t stand to be poor, so they straddled that lifestyle rather blissfully. In 1973, after 9 months of living and tending to his brother’s bar in Germany, he and Stefani took jobs at the CWF cannery in Alitak, Alaska. This set Lu’s direction for life. They worked three years at Alitak, he as a quality control and electrician’s apprentice (who happened to be Stefani’s father, Ingulv Eldegard – because no one else could work with him) she in the office and can shop. They embarked on Halibut fishing in cannery off hours out of a wooden skiff with a homemade reel with Danny and Nette Farsovitch as co-crew. What a sight that was!! Lu made the decision to become a crew member for salmon, halibut & crab fishing with Simon Ferkingstad, and thereafter crabbing and tendering with Atom Fairweather on the Tidings. The passion for halibut fishing never left him. Boat ownership and the pursuit of the elusive bottom feeder became his destiny. The birth of daughters’ Sharnico in 1976, and Katrina in 1978, inspired the decision for Stefani to move the family from California to Alaska in 1980. His first boat was the Swallow, which lead to his next boat and “mistress”(Stefani’s words) the Belair. It’s sinking in 1994 was something he mourned the remainder of his life. Next came the North Point and the Stormbird – vessels that he owned during the remainder of his life. The Stormbird was most recently in partnership with Gene LeDoux. Lu was especially dedicated to the fair treatment and fair compensation of his crew members. He creatively fought IFQs, because it hampered new entrants to the fisheries. He participated very vocally in challenging the ABF, IPHC and NPFMC to make policies limiting the impact of the drag fisheries on the resource, and endlessly advocated to initiate crab fishery enhancement and restoration efforts for the Kodiak community. Lu’s subsidy of research provided a window into the reality of the current and future consequences of regulatory agencies ignoring data and facts, and acting appropriately. His dream endures that changes will occur as a part of his legacy. Lu and Stefani had just joyously celebrated their 50th anniversary on October 4th. It is impossible to list all the friends who have been with him forever. Stefani and his children are so grateful for the support of the Kodiak community, as well as some many others throughout Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington and Germany.
- Graveside Service Thursday, October 17, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, November 1, 2019
November 24, 2019
My heartfelt condolences to the Dochtermann family.. I first met Lu and sons when I was a youngster, living on the south end of Kodiak Island. I was fishing at a gillnet camp with KC, and recall Lu anchoring the bel Air nearby to visit.
I got to know him much better a few decades later, while engaging in the “Ratz” anti- privatization fishery wars of the aughts..
Lu was such an inspiration, as he pushed back against the IFQ system on PRINCIPLE, even after being awarded quota. Not many quota holders would do this. He was very present at council meetings, sometimes even testifying in rodent garb to drive his point home. His iconic Ratz artwork and slogans were easily recognized all over Kodiak, and helped to galvanize the working fisherman resistance against privatization efforts.
He was an accomplished maritime artist, and I really enjoyed his paintings of Kodiak fishing scenery and old boats of yore.
He was a generous man, and I remember him selling to me one of his trucks, on small payments, to help me through a particularly poor cod year. I was often at his house to visit and collaborate with our late fellow conspirator and activist Steven Taufin, whom Lu housed under his roof. It was a pleasure to be invited by Lu for a sip, and lively discussion.
Rest In Peace, Ludger
You’re gonna be missed!
November 18, 2019
So distressing to hear of Lu's passing. He was a passionate advocate for good and comprehensive fisheries management, especially about reducing halibut bycatch. I was happy he agreed to sit on the IPHC Research Advisory Board and he enlivened the meetings with his curiosity, insight, and forthright expressions. He was endlessly curious about all things biological and shared his many observations with me and the Commission staff. He and Stefani were welcome guests at the Research Board socials at my home - and they really were in love! He was just so full of life - I remember him showing up at my office one day to share some insights, dressed in a great purple satin shirt. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was just going roller blading around Green Lake - what a guy! He enriched all our lives.
November 12, 2019
I met Lu once a year in Seattle at the Research Advisory Board meetings of the IPHC. He was always very friendly to a junior halibut fisherman from Canada and always very passionate about the health of the halibut resource around Kodiak in particular and in the North Pacific in general. Never afraid to speak his mind, Lu was a true friend to the halibut resource and to halibut fishermen.
November 7, 2019
While living in Kodiak, I met Lu. One of the nicest guys around in those days. He would tell stories and share his 'bitters' with me and a few of the guys at the NAPA store there in the early 90's. He will be missed. Rest in Peace Lu!
October 30, 2019
Lu was part of my Alaska family. We spent countless hours talking about art, salmon, and our families. He taught me about the tundra, kept me entertained at PPT, and was always patient when I had questions about ... well, anything. He will always have a special place in my heart and I will cherish my time with him. I love you Lu.
October 29, 2019
Thanks Lou for always keeping things interesting
October 22, 2019
I met Lou in 1995 along with his two sons Shawn and KC. We spent the day with Lou and his family for Lou’s 75th birthday at his home in Atascadero Ca.
I’m honored to have known such an amazing man. My condolences to the Dochtermann family.
Janet and Jim Delude