Paul Robert “Sugar” Lindwall
Master Craftsman – Boat Builder
August 18, 1923 – July 9, 2011
Passed away July 9, 2011 in Santa Barbara, California. Sugar was born August 18, 1923 in Astoria, Oregon to Angelina and Charles Lindwall, the youngest of 6 children. The family moved to Santa Barbara in the late 20’s, where, as a young man, he worked with his father repairing and building boats on Stearns Wharf.
Shortly after graduating from Santa Barbara High School, he married his high school sweetheart, Lucy Smith, with whom he shared 69 years of marriage. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he used his skills repairing landing craft in the Philippines and the South Pacific. Upon his return from the war, he and his father built their own boat yard, Lindwall Boatworks on Micheltorena Street and the old Highway 101.
Building and repairing wooden boats was his life’s work, but when approached by friends, he also built wooden furniture for local restaurants, boats and homes. He was a very generous man, and when asked by a local plastic surgeon to craft fiberglass casts for child burn victims, he donated his time making these casts and fitting them to the patients. This skill then lead to the making of casts for injured horses as well. He was always willing to share his expertise with fishermen who asked him for advice, often trading his handy work for the local catch of the day.
In the 40’s and 50’s Sugar and his father built five commercial fishing boats, some of which are still used locally. In 1959, he designed and built the Vaquero II, which was used to transport cattle to and from Santa Cruz Island. During the 60’s, he built ten 40’- 58’ yachts, known as offshore cruisers. In 1970, he finished and outfitted the bare hull of a sailboat, which won the Trans Pac Race. These Lindwall boats, built 40 and 50 years ago, are still highly sought after and cherished by their present owners.
Sugar was a familiar figure at the waterfront, and spent his last working years at the boat yard at the breakwater. After he retired, he could be seen daily on the breakwater walking hand in hand with the love of his life, Lucy. Dogs at the harbor knew him by sight and would greet him from afar, waiting until he reached them with his pocket full of dog treats.
Sugar was predeceased by his parents, Angelina and Charles Lindwall and his brothers and sisters Willhelm Lindwall, Betty Stanley, Victor Lindwall, Martha Ball and Lloyd Lindwall.
He is survived by his wife Lucy, daughters and sons-in-law, Carol and Harry Bowie, Diane and Dick Powell; grandchildren Joyce Brisby (Mark), Janice Bowie and Steve Powell; great-granddaughters Chelsey Gonzales, Leah and Hannah Brisby. He is also survived by his niece and nephews Jim Stanley, Chuck Lindwall, Mary Elliot and Bill and Peter Lindwall and his cousin, Paul Sivakka (Finland).
A celebration of Sugar’s life will be held at a later date.