George E. Manning Jr., the Portland fisherman who drowned after falling off a wharf on Portland’s waterfront last week, was described by family and friends as a hardworking, caring person who loved life and in particular his Boston-based sports teams.
His employer, Vincent Balzano, referred to the 66-year-old Manning as the “mayor of Commercial Street.”
Manning had worked on Balzano’s North Star, a fishing vessel that has docked at Custom House Wharf on the city’s waterfront since 1995. He had been living on the ship for several months.
Manning’s body was recovered from the harbor Tuesday. He had last been seen on the wharf around 4:30 a.m. the previous morning, June 10.
His son, George E. Manning III of Boston, said Sunday he was told by authorities that his father likely fell off a climbing ladder on the wharf, hit his head during the fall and was knocked unconscious.
Mr. Manning was born in Boston on July 18, 1946. He grew up in Massachusetts and attended Chelmsford High School.
In his younger years, he worked in the construction industry. He got married and raised three children.
His son said Mr. Manning loved the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.
But after his divorce in the early 1990s, he moved to Portland and went to work for Balzano.
“My father took fishing to the next level when he moved to Portland,” his son said.
During his time on the waterfront, Mr. Manning made lots of friends. His favorite place to hang out was the Dry Dock bar and restaurant on Commercial Street.
“He was a regular,” said Jacque Casey, a bartender at the Dry Dock. Casey said she had known him for more than 10 years.
“He was very kind. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. No matter what happened, he always had my back,” Casey said. “He will be missed. It is weird to be working and not to see him to say hello.”
Another longtime friend, Tim Seekamp, said “George was a great friend and a super person.”
Seekamp, who is a real estate agent, said Mr. Manning inspired confidence and trust in the people who knew him.
Seekamp hired him to do a number of odd jobs and gave him the keys to his condominium.
Seekamp said his friend was “the hardest-working person” he knew. Mr. Manning would spend hours at sea, handling gear and nets, and offloading the day’s catch, and then stop into the Dry Dock to hang out with his friends.
His favorite pastime was rooting for his Boston teams — in particular the Boston Bruins and the Boston Red Sox.
During the Bruins’ double overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month, he convinced the Dry Dock to stay open late so that he could watch the game on its television, Seekamp recalled.
“I think everyone is going to miss him to death,” Seekamp said.
Mr. Manning’s family will hold a private service to celebrate his life. He is survived by his three children, four grandchildren, and two brothers.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: