Stan Pocock | 1923-2014

June 1, 2015


Dear Friends of Pocock Racing Shells,

It is with much sadness and a heavy hand that we write with the news of Stan Pocock’s passing.

Stan was a gifted engineer, a coach with an unparalleled eye, and a fine leader.  It’s not exaggeration to say that the rowing landscape in the U.S. wouldn’t look anything like it does today without Stan Pocock. Stan spent a lifetime deeply immersed in every aspect of American rowing, 40 years of which were spent in the shop at Pocock designing and building some of the finest racing shells in the world. As a coach, his crews won at every level – from college, to club, to international. He was a driving force behind the creation of two of Seattle’s preeminent rowing clubs – Lake Washington Rowing Club, and the Pocock Rowing Center, which was named in honor of his father. A few of his crowning achievements include:

1941-1985: Stan’s tenure at the Pocock shop

1947-1955: Lightweight and then Freshman rowing coach at the University of Washington

1957: Founded the Lake Washington Rowing Club

1948, ’52, ’56 and ’60:  Built all of the US boats for the Olympics

1956, ‘60 and ‘64:  coached gold medal crews at the Olympics

Less well known are the technical innovations that Stan brought to the equipment of our sport.  He was a perpetual tinkerer and inventor.  Among his inventions:  the first ever fiberglass shell (1956), the first true monocoque (ribless) boat (1980), the first composite oar (1973), the first molded seat top (1976). Even the now ubiquitous oarlock spacer is Stan’s creation (1968).

Hopefully you were lucky enough to have met him. If not, you no doubt have heard stories of Stan or his late father George, and their indelible mark left on American rowing. Interestingly, we both first met Stan as youngsters. These initial meetings led to a profound respect and love for a man that equalled that of a family member.  For Bill, this meant purchasing the company from Stan in 1985, and for John, this reverence blossomed once he was old enough to understand the true meaning of his middle name – a tribute to Stan and George.

Even in his later years, Stan enjoyed visits to the Pocock shop and it was not the two of us he came to visit. He would wander around, checking in with “the men” on the floor, keenly interested in what they were producing.

Our hearts and those of the entire Pocock company go out to Stan’s wife Sue and their family. This is a sad day in Seattle, and we all miss him terribly.


Bill and John Tytus


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