Ulric Eugene "Bubber" Sweeting, 81, died Sept. 30,
2008. A lifelong Conch, Bubber was born in Key West on Dec. 2, 1926. His father was descended from a Bahamian
family and his mother was of Cuban descent. Bubber's father died when he was only 9, and it was then that Bubber's strong sense of responsibility and commitment to hard work and family was instilled. Economic times were desperate in those days of the Great Depression, and even as a small boy he worked extra jobs delivering newspapers and at the local grocery store to help support the family.
Bubber was also a talented athlete with a special passion for baseball. He played baseball and handball at Bayview Park every chance he could get, and joined the Conch baseball team when he was a senior in high school, the first year baseball was introduced to Key West High School. Bubber graduated from Key West High School in 1944. He was a natural leader and was voted class president all four of his high school years. He served as sports editor of the school newspaper and lettered in basketball, football and baseball, being captain of the baseball and basketball teams. His peers voted him "Most Popular Boy." Upon graduation he received the coveted Balfour Award, and a plaque describing his accomplishments is displayed in the Conch Hall of Fame at the high school.
After graduating, Bubber was invited to try out for the Washington Senators, however, the U.S. Army wanted him, too. After serving his time, Bubber returned to Key West, where he began his career as a merchant marine aboard the MV Cable. He played a vital role in Key West's maritime history as a ship salvager. Bubber earned his captain's papers, which enabled him to navigate any ship of unlimited tonnage. During his 34-year career in the wrecking business, Capt. Ulric Eugene Sweeting salvaged over 500 vessels of 400 feet or more that either sank, caught fire or ran aground. Bubber, often known as "The Last of the Key West Wreckers," is featured in one of the video presentations in the Key West Shipwreck Museum, and his salvage vessel, The Cable, which was docked for many years at the foot of Duval Street, serves today as an artificial reef.
Throughout the years, Bubber was a dedicated supporter of Key West baseball. Many Key West children have been impacted by Bubber's generosity to the local baseball programs. In fact, one of the buildings at the Clayton Sterling baseball complex is named in Bubber's honor. He acted as the Key West baseball commissioner with the Florida Little Major League for 15 years, and was very instrumental in the success of that program. In addition, he assisted many local athletes in receiving scholarships and placement in higher-level baseball programs.
Bubber was preceded in death by his parents, Bradly Ulric Sweeting and Annie Theresa Rodriguez Sweeting, as well as his brother, Bradly Everette Sweeting. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Geraldine Sweeting; nieces, Emily Peterson and Bonnie Basler; grandnieces, Stacey Jessee, Ashley Peterson, Scarlet Basler and Rebecca Basler; grandnephew, James Sweeting; and his first cousins, Mary Anne Matchett, Mary Dora Breedlove, David Sweeting, Roger Sweeting, Gail Surrency and Linda Acevedo.
A note of thanks goes out to the Key West Convalescent Center, Donna Rosado, and Lower Keys Medical Center. The family would also like to thank John Mahoney and Amy for dedicating so much of themselves in assuring Bubber's care and quality of life for many years.
A visitation will be held at noon on Monday, Oct. 6, 2008, at Dean Lopez Funeral Home, 418 Simonton St., with funeral services to follow at 2 p.m. Father Sullivan of St. Peter's Church will officiate.
Dean Lopez Funeral Home is entrusted with all funeral arrangements.
Albert L. Redmon
Albert L. Redmon, 79, lately of Green Cove Springs, Fla.,
passed away Friday, Sept. 19, 2008.
Al was married to Conch Betty Taylor Redmon for 32 years. They lived in Key
West from the 1940s to 1981, where they raised their daughter, Marsha. Betty passed away in 1981. He retired from the Navy in Key West after serving 20-plus years. Al worked for Air Florida at the Key West Airport in the 1970s and '80s. He loved fishing in the Keys and enjoyed playing golf, which he learned later in life. Al is survived by his daughter, Marsha Redmon Dimitoglou; his son-in-law, George; and his grandchildren, Aliki and Ariadne of Potomac, Md. He is also survived by his wife, Barbara Redmon; stepdaughter Brenda Lee; two stepgrandchildren and three stepgreat-grandchildren, all of Tennessee. Other surviving family includes brothers Jimmy and Robert Redmon; sisters Christine Blackwell and Cora Mae Woffin; and numerous nieces and nephews.
David McTavish Loovis
April 4, 1926 - Aug. 28, 2008
David Loovis, long-term resident of Key West, passed away
at the age of 82 in Hialeah, Fla.
Mr. Loovis was born in New York City, attended New York City schools and was a gradu-
ate of Colgate University. After a hitch in the Navy, he went directly to his first writing job as general reporter for the Port Chester, New York Daily Item. Thereafter, via motor-bicycle, he traveled in Europe for 16 months, en route establishing lasting relationships with Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal.
Over a long period, Vidal and Williams encouraged Loovis' writing. Loovis dedicated his first Scribner novel, "Try for Elegance" to Gore, who contributed the flap copy blurb. Loovis held the requisite number of jobs expected of an American writer, including Broadway hotel desk clerk; art gallery salesperson in Nantucket; New England representative of textbook publisher McGraw-Hill; a decadelong stint as a salesperson on the main floor of Brooks Brothers' Madison Avenue Store; and at J. Walter Thompson for five years as an advertising copywriter on major accounts (Pan Am, Ford, Reader's Digest).
For over 10 years, (1984-1994) he held the position as Almoner -- dispenser of alms -- of St. George's Society of New York, the oldest private charity in America (est. 1770). He also managed the office and arranged the Society's events. In December of 1994, he resigned his position with honor and moved permanently to Key West.
Mr. Loovis came to the island for longer or shorter stays almost every season since 1953. That year he worked as a waiter at the Trade Winds Restaurant (corner of Duval and Caroline streets). In 1961, his waiter's job provided him with material for his second Scribner novel, "The Last of the Southern Winds," a story of passion and conflict set entirely in Key West. Tennessee Williams appeared as a character in that novel.
Mr. Loovis was a strong, articulate standard-bearer for gay advocacy. Toward that end, he wrote two important books, "Gay Spirit" (1975) -- the first American, nationally published and advertised, nonfiction, author-acknowledged book about the gay lifestyle -- and "Straight Answers About Homosexuality for Straight Readers" (1977). He also wrote articles for national magazines and newspapers, as well as stories for the Key West paper Celebrate.
He is remembered for his urbane grace, charm and wit.