|Email from Jimmy's half brother:|
|----- Original Message -----
From: "Bates, Edward S"
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:17 AM
Subject: James Todd
I won't make this a long e-mail but I was contacted this week by
the Todd family in Southern NJ regarding the passing of their father,
James E. Todd back in November of 2007. For the past 10 years, I have
been searching for my half-brother and unfortunately, I found him but
it was too late to actually meet him in person. My name is Ed Bates and
I was born in Woodbury, NJ in 1953. My father, Edward S. Bates was
married to Isabella Mason in 1942 and they had one son, James Edward,
born on Dec 1, 1943. They divorced shortly after James was born and
Isabella was married two more times, the third time to Fredrick Todd.
I never knew that I had a half-brother until 1999 when my aunt from
Clarksboro, NJ told me about James. I went on an exhaustive search
but was unable to locate him, and now it makes perfect sense why he was so
difficult to contact. Being a sailor, I'm sure he spent more time
underway than on shore and I can relate completely. I'm still active
duty in the U.S. Navy but I have retirement planned for next July.
I'd like to thank whoever wrote the kind words in your
Fleetsheet newsletter obituary back in November. It sounds like our
lives had some similarities despite having never met and being
thousands of miles apart. Isn't life crazy? Anyway, thought I'd share this
tidbit with you and feel free to share this with his shipmates. I am
currently stationed in Bremerton, WA. To James I say: "Fair winds
and following seas"
CDR Ed Bates, NC, USN
From: Minor W. Kates, Jr.
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:12 AM
To: Bates, Edward S
Subject: Re: James Todd
Great story! Sorry to hear you never got to meet Jimmy. He was a great
The letter I had copied on the website that was written by Tom Millett
was a perfect example of how "Toddie" is best remembered by his Sun Oil
shipmates. When I got that email while sailing in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico,
It was like a lightening bolt had come down and hit me in my chair and the
after daze was my memories of Toddie. He will be greatly missed.
I had know Jimmy since I was kid sailing with my dad
(http://www.fleetsheet.com/pages/west6.html). He would do anything for
you and was a great Captain. I have sailed with many Captains over the
years and he was one of the best. What makes a great Captain is not being a
great ship handler or knowing how to navigate a ship, but how well the ship
"runs". He ran a smooth running ship. Everyone was content and the vessel did
its work flawlessly.
One of the simple stories I can think of that I will always remember
about Toddie, is one where he wanted to help me out once. I was laid off from
Sun Oil in 1995, when Sun decided to get out of the shipping business. Many
of the Sun sailors went with the ships to their new owner (Maritrans).
Toddie was on the Philadelphia Sun that was renamed the Perseverance. I worked
ashore for about 4 years and decided that the 15 years I had previously
spent at sea were calling me again. I love sailing and the lifestyle.
So, I picked up a job down in the GOM and was sailing again. I got a call
from Maritrans to work aboard one of their tankers. Well, they needed to put
me on the Perseverance for about 20 days while I waited to get on my new
ship. I got to see many of my old buddies from Sun and Toddie was aboard
Aboard the Sun vessels, it was common to have meeting areas where coffee
was consumed and stories would flow. In the evening on the bridge, would be
our meeting time and place aboard the Perseverance. I was telling everyone
about my shore side job experiences and the fact that my engineering
license renewal was coming up and I probably didn't have enough sea time to make
it a smooth renewal. I also didn't have all the new requirements for STCW 95
or sea time (a requirement for sailing). Of course, Toddie instantly said he
would give me the USCG discharges needed to make it happen. Now, no
matter how many times I told him no, he insisted that he would do it for me. I
regard a USCG discharge as a holy grail. This is legal tender and
nothing to full around with. His ideas of dates sailing would not match any
vessels records and I'd have no proof of being on the vessel. In the end I did
not take a discharge from him, he was upset I didn't and I had to go to
additional training and work more days at sea to catch up before
renewing my license. If he was caught he could of gotten in a lot of trouble with
Coast Guard and possibly lost his license. It still amazes me he would have
done that for me.
Sorry to get back to you so late. Just got off my ship and getting back
to the real world. It was nice to hear from you and your story. Is it OK
to copy your email somewhere up on the website? I'm sure others would like
to hear the story.