OCEAN CITY — The local area and the entire fishing community lost one of the great ones last week with the passing of iconic marine supply shop owner and fishing enthusiast Doug Ake.
Ake passed away last Friday at his home at the age of 69 after battling illness. Four nearly four decades, Ake owned and operated Ake Marine at the commercial harbor in West Ocean City and dispensed his vast knowledge and wisdom with generations of anglers.
Ake worked at Wallops Island before getting his degree in ocean engineering from Florida Atlantic University. In 1975, he married Elena Danforth and the couple founded Ake Marine in 1977. The business began as a small marine repair shop but expanded over the years and moved to its latest location in 1990.
Ake was instrumental in the success of the Ocean City Marlin Club and was a strong advocate for the Ocean City Reef Foundation. In early December, a 50-foot retired water taxi donated to the Reef Foundation was sunk in an area about five miles offshore to become the latest and one of the largest additions to the growing artificial reef system off the coast. Appropriately, the water taxi was sunk in honor of the long-time fishing, diving and reef-building advocate and was adorned with “Ake’s Reef” painted on the side before it went down.
Former Ocean City Marlin Club Bill Regan this week fondly recalled Ake.
“Doug was such a wonderful guy,” he said. “He always went out of his way to help any time I came in the store. He was an incredible supporter of the Marlin Club when I was president, offering both financial as well as emotional support when we made the decision to relocate the club. He will be missed.”
Ocean City Reef Foundation’s Greg Hall also recalled Ake’s many contributions to the organization.
“He was a big supporter of the Reef Foundation,” he said. “He always donated to our fundraising efforts and donated prizes and things for our raffles. At the store, he acted as an outlet and helped get the word out about the reef program and distributed our maps. He will certainly be missed around the harbor.”
Services were held yesterday at Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin followed by a reception at the Marlin Club.