There were the two years in the Peace Corps. The time in the Marines. But every other summer of his life Frank Greenwood Jewett III spent sailing on Lake Minnetonka.
In an X boat named Commodore as a kid, C and D scows as a youth and, for five decades, a well-worn E scow, he sailed. But on occasion, he traversed the lake in a rowboat or a motorboat. Often with friends.
"The lake was the center of our lives," said Chuck Gorgen, who was a teenager when he first sailed with Jewett, known as "Woody."
A fixture in the Deephaven community and a beloved character at the Minnetonka Yacht Club, Jewett, 78, died March 25 while skiing with family in Ketchum, Idaho. From his cottage on property his family rented or owned for a century, he kept a close eye on the club.
"After a storm, he was the first one on the island to make sure nothing was damaged," Gorgen said. In the summer, he crossed the channel to Big Island in a rowboat. In the winter, he'd walk across the ice. "He kept tabs on the club and the clubhouse more than anyone else did."
The oldest of four, Jewett spent the first few years of his life in Deephaven. His father, a sales representative for George A. Clark and Son, moved the family to Marshall, Minn., in 1950, and Woody served as Marshall High School's student council president. But the family returned each summer to Lake Minnetonka, sharing sailboats purchased by their grandmother. They named one "The Flip," a nod to her youthful nickname.
"It was appropriate, because we tended to tip over a lot," said his brother, Ted Jewett. "Woody was a little bit famous for tipping over."
After graduating from the University of Colorado, Jewett volunteered with the Peace Corps, getting a crash course in Hindi and poultry production before heading to Jodphur in northern India. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in 1966, serving as a lieutenant in Guantanamo and Vietnam. There, he was shot in the arm, an injury that would restrict his range of motion but never stopped him from sailing. He returned to Minnesota and married Kathleen McCarthy in 1969.
For years, he worked in sales. But his work was never his passion, friends and family said. He cared about history — world history, but also that of the Deephaven area and the families who called it home. He kept in touch with people over decades, showing up at their family's funerals. He listened to strangers and friends with warmth and kindness.
"He was really curious about people and wanted to know people," said his daughter, Eleanor Jewett. "It didn't make a difference if it was the guy who ran the gas station or if it was the millionaire down the road."
Jewett was dedicated to his institutions, as well. He sang with the Minnetonka Choral Society for five decades, volunteered with his church for Meals on Wheels and, each Thursday, played hockey in a senior men's league. And his membership in the Minnetonka Yacht Club? Lifelong.
He became one of its regulars, its characters. He had a warm grin and wild, feathered eyebrows. He regularly sported a bow tie, caring little whether it matched his shirt or suit jacket. In his yard and garage, he collected a fleet of boats, in various conditions. He fixed and fiddled with them.
In 2014, he convinced his old sailing partner Gorgen to race in the E National Championship on Crystal Lake in Michigan. "There were 97 boats in the fleet that year … and here's four old guys in this E-scow," Gorgen said, chuckling. "I think we beat 12 boats." He laughed some more. "But we got the boat around the course."
Jewett's family will hold a celebration this summer on — where else? — Lake Minnetonka. They have not yet set a date. Jewett's survivors also include his siblings Peter and Nancy, his son, Kevin, and five grandchildren.