Captain John 'Candy' Keefe, Brooklyn, NY – 1931
Captain John Keefe was born in New York City in the year 1890. He was the son of German immigrant parents living on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Orphaned at a young age, John took to the sea at the age of 14 aboard the Iron Steamboat Company's fishing banks steamboat "TAURUS". His job onboard the "TAURUS" was selling knives, fish cleaning tools and candy. The crew nicknamed the youngster 'Candy' and the name stayed with him throughout his adult life.
From 1904 thru 1915, 'Candy' also fished and worked on two other Manhattan-based fishing steamers, the "CLERMONT" and "MOUNT DESERT". In March 1916, 'Candy' obtained his captain's license. During that year, 'Candy' moved from Manhattan to Astoria, Queens and took a job as a deck hand and alternate captain aboard Fred Wrege's "EFFORT" at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
In 1919, 'Candy' purchased his first fishing boat, the "ADA L". For the next four years, 'Candy' and his "ADA L" made daily open boat trips from April through November. In 1923, 'Candy' sold the "ADA L" for a slightly larger boat which he named "TAMBO" and ran from Albert's Dock/Pier 6 at Sheepshead Bay until November 1930. On November 30, 1930, 'Candy' piloted his new 48-foot party boat "TAMBO III" and carried 42 passengers to the Cholera Banks on its maiden voyage. For the next five years, the "TAMBO III" fished all the local hot spots in the waters offshore of Brooklyn, Long Island and northern New Jersey during the warm weather months. The winter months in the 1930s found 'Candy' hitching a ride south to southern Florida aboard Jacob 'Chubby' Martin's "GLORY" where he worked as alternate captain and sometimes as deck hand.
After repeated urgings by Captain Charlie Freiberger, 'Candy' moved his family and boat business to Brielle, New Jersey in July 1936. The "TAMBO III" was berthed at Freiberger's Dock in Brielle, which was later known as the Harbor Inn Basin. The "TAMBO III" sailed from Brielle until September 1956, when 'Candy' retired and his eldest son, Edward, took over the business. 'Candy' passed away in June 1983 at the ripe old age of 92. Photo courtesy of Ed Keefe Jr.