Richard Joseph Fellows, (Joe Fellows, Jr.)
Known as “Rusty”, Richard Fellows learned to sail and build boats as a boy. He graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering in 1929 as a naval architect, then later became an accomplished businessman, eventually heading the firm as President of Fellows & Stewart after his father’s death in 1942. Rusty’s career witnessed the popularity of pleasure boats overtaken by the demands of World War II military boatbuilding and the war-time production of military contracts.
When he died at age 57 his wife, Lois Fellows, took charge of the company until it was sold to Harbor Boat in 1967.
Joseph “Joe” Fellows, Sr. was born in Barth, England in 1865. He and his family immigrated to the Midwest of the United States, and in the 1890s he learned the craft of boat building on large fishing vessels in Seattle and San Francisco. Fellows moved to Southern California and took advantage of the new demand for recreational boats. In 1896, he opened the Joe Fellows Boat Shop and began building yachts, speed-boats, and sailboats. As a tribute to his successful career, California Shipbuilding Corporation built and named the Liberty Ship JOE FELLOWS in his honor in 1944.
Of all the boats built by Joe Fellows, his prototypical racing sailboats, motor cruisers and speedboats are now classic designs.
Read more about Joe Fellows in the series “Your Right of Passage” appearing in the Library’s blog.
The Fellows & Stewart shipyard operated in Los Angeles Harbor for over 70 years. From its founding in 1896 until its closure in 1967, the company designed, built, and repaired yachts, (both sail and power), workboats, and military vessels. The company’s founder, Joe Fellows, designed boats, while his business partner Victor Baldwin Stewart focused on marketing, advertising, and public relations. The combination of Joe Fellow’s design talent with Victor Stewart’s marketing expertise resulted in national recognition for the company. Joe Fellows’ son Richard Joseph Fellows (1905-1962), known as Rusty or Joe, lead the corporation after his father’s retirement in 1937. His wife, Lois Fellows became President after Rusty’s death until the firm was sold in 1967.
Of the boats designed by Joe Fellows, his prototypical racing sailboats, motor cruisers and speedboats are now classic designs.