Ben H. Sherwood (1933–2021)

Ben H. Sherwood, 87 years old of Pleasant Prairie, WI passed away suddenly on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at Aurora Medical Center, Kenosha, WI.

He was born November 17, 1933, in Sullivan, IN, the son of the late Lex H. and Carrie “Pearl” (Usrey) Sherwood. He grew up in Knoxville, IL and graduated from Bradley University, Peoria, IL with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Retailing. On June 26, 1955, he married Joan Carlson, and they later divorced. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force where he went through USAF flight school. Ben spent three years on active duty, including one year in the Arctic, followed by several years in the reserves before being honorably discharged in 1972 at the rank of Captain.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Ben joined Outboard Marine Corporation as a District Sales Manager selling outboard motors to dealers, serving two different midwestern territories. He later became involved in the creation of a new Division of Outboard Marine Corporation called OMC Parts & Accessories (later named OMC Genuine Parts), where he served for 15 years as Director of Sales, Marketing, and New Product Development. He was promoted to the position of Product Group Manager of Johnson Outboards and later of Evinrude, until his retirement.

After his retirement from OMC, Ben purchased and operated a Chevrolet dealership in central Illinois where he received a “Top Dealer” award his first year in business. He later sold that dealership and founded Sherwood Marine Marketing, which provided sales and marketing consulting services to the golf, automotive aftermarket, and marine industries. Ben wrote a monthly column for marine industry trade publications for many years. In 1998, he received a “Journalism Award” from the Marine Retailers Association of America.

On June 21, 1997, he married Linda (Dissmore) Novak and they settled in Pleasant Prairie, WI, where they are devout members of Kenosha Bible Church. Ben served the church in various capacities including 21 years as a Trustee, then Director of Facilities, retiring in 2019.

Survivors include his wife, Linda; his children, Bill (Janis) Sherwood of Vista, CA, Pam (David) Pickrel of Galesburg, IL, and Melissa (Pierre) Brondeau of Philadelphia, PA; a stepson, Jim Novak of Kenosha, WI; seven grandchildren, Jennifer, Amanda, Pete, Andy, Tony, Stephan, and Ben; six great-grandchildren, George, James, Lorenzo, Emma, Lizzie, and Audrey; and his former wife, Joan Carlson.

In addition to his parents, Ben was preceded in death by his siblings, Joyce Liston, Norma Bedwell, Warren Sherwood, Claire Ellen Spencer, and Jim Sherwood; and a grandson, Sawyer Sherwood.

Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at Kenosha Bible Church, 5405 67th Street, Kenosha, WI. Funeral services will commence at 11:30 a.m. and interment with military honors will be held at 2:00 p.m. in Sunset Ridge Memorial Park, Kenosha, WI. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to Kenosha Bible Church, in his memory.

Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
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Remembering an Industry Icon

Charlie Strang

Last fall, after 25 years as a columnist in boating trade magazines, I decided it was time to work on some other projects, so I told the Editor of Soundings Trade Only, Bill Sisson, that I wouldn’t be writing any more columns.

However, when Charlie Strang passed away on March 11, 2018, Bill sent me an email asking if I would do a special article regarding Charlie. How could I say no to that? In fact, I felt very honored to be asked to do this and told Bill I would be happy to write the article. And it was an honor. Charlie was President and later Chairman of the Board for many of the 30 years that I worked for Outboard Marine Corporation, starting as a District Sales Manager shortly after being released from active duty in the Air Force.

Everyone who knew Charlie and those who worked at OMC considered him a brilliant man and also very friendly. It was a pleasure to know him. So here is “Remembering an Industry Icon” that was published in the May 2018 issue of Soundings Trade Only. And many thanks to Skip Hegel, Tad Whitten, Earl Bentz, and Edgar Rose for sharing their comments regarding Charlie.

Marine and RV Parts & Accessories Distributor – Four Generations

I have had the privilege to work with and get to know several marine parts and accessories distributors over the 58 years I have been in the marine business. Several of the distributors have made a positive impression with me, but Mike Keller, President of Keller Marine and RV Distributors, Port Trevorton, Pennsylvania probably made the biggest impression with me. Mike is a perfect description of an entrepreneur who grew up in a family of marine industry entrepreneurs. Continue reading Marine and RV Parts & Accessories Distributor – Four Generations