Stiewig was a fixture at Roundup
Stiewig will be inducted posthumously into the Boatmen’s Hall of Fame during the Deep Sea Roundup July 9-12.
Stiewig, who died in January at the age of 71, didn’t fish, although she would go crabbing.
Instead, her passions were gambling and social gatherings.
One gathering at which she was a regular was the Deep Sea Roundup where she worked registration for years.
Hall of Famers, according to Charlie Zahn, a Boatman who nominated Stiewig for induction, typically are “those who have made signifi- cant contributions to the Boatmen. They’ve mostly been members of the fishing community or people who have helped conduct the Deep Sea Roundup. But when you look at it overall, some individuals are, year in and year out, out there making contributions that benefit the Deep Sea Roundup and make it a success. The first person who comes to mind is Marie.”
“Many were harried after driving long distances, and Marie and her staff made them feel at home,” Zahn said.
“She wasn’t a sportsman, but she loved social gatherings,” said longtime friend Joann Page.
“She loved people,” Zahn said.
“If there wasn’t a social gathering, she’d make one up,” Page said.
“And she liked to dance,” Zahn added.
“I can see her right now in the middle of that floor dancing,” Zahn said of Deep Sea Roundups in the past. “There wasn’t a man in the room who was safe.”
Stiewig’s husband, Foy, was a musi- cian and, typically, he was playing in the band, leaving his wife without a dance partner – but not for long.
In addition to the Deep Sea Roundup, the Boatmen contribute to the CCA Take a Kid Fishing Tournament, and Stiewig volunteered her help with registration and, the most daunting task of all, coming up with names for prizes in a tournament where every kid wins a prize.
“When you’ve got 150 kids and basically 12 species of fish, it’s a problem. She’d make up some doozies,” Zahn said.
“At some point, Marie would be ready for it to be over, and she’d make suggestions that probably were not appropriate,” said another long-time friend, Georgia Neblett, laughing at the memory.
Anyone who knew Stiewig knew she loved Elvis Presley. In fact, she held an Elvis Presley party every January on the Saturday closest to his birthdate. Her last one was on Jan. 9, just 19 days before she died.
“She lived her life like there was no tomorrow,” Page said. “Wherever she went, she touched everybody’s life.”
“She was a magnet,” Neblett added.
“She drew crowds when we went on cruises. She was the life of the party,” Page said.
Neblett said that Stiewig “adopted” her when she moved to Port Aransas in the late 1970s.
“If not for Marie, I wouldn’t have made it here those first few years,” Neblett said.
“She just took you under her wings,” Page said.
“If she liked you,” Neblett quipped.
Page recalled that Stiewig cautioned her never to say anything about anybody, “because they were her relatives. She was real protective of her family.”
Although Stiewig liked parties, decorating for them was another matter.
“She hated it when I recruited her to decorate,” Neblett said.
Once, Neblett assigned Stiewig to put lights on mesquite branches.
“She made lots of colorful comments about why she wasn’t going to be my friend again,” Neblett recalled.
As the person in charge of registration at the Roundup, Stiewig didn’t have to worry about decorating, but she did worry about having an adequate supply of pens and pencils.
Treasurer of the Boatman, Jack Nichols was in charge of seeing that she was supplied.
“She bugged him: ‘Do you have this, and do you have that?’,” Neblett said.
Nichols said that when he became treasurer of the Boatmen, “I inherited Marie.”
He said she “very meticulous and wanted to know if we had enough pens, paper clips and rubberbands.”
Stiewig and her crew would “march in (to Roundup registration) and you never had to worry about another thing. Marie was in charge of door registration, and Ginger Henley and Bo Horn were doing advance registration and I never had to worry,” Nichols said.
As registration chairman, “she never let a worker go without a drink. I don’t know how she paid attention (to registration) and still noticed someone’s drink was getting low. She’d find a runner and made sure the workers were kept in adult beverages,” Neblett said.
“And she made sure they were fed,” Zahn added.
When she wasn’t working Roundup registration, she made sure she had plenty to do.
Page said Stiewig would cook up a fish fry, a crab boil, 42 (dominoes) tournament or a card game if nothing else was scheduled.
“Her primary event was gambling -- she loved to play cards,” Page said.
In her later years, Stiewig, a brunette, decided to become a redhead, and was known as “Red” at social events, Page said.
She won’t be here to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, or to register contestants or dance at the Roundup, but she will be remembered. Likely there will be laughter because it will be, after all, a social gathering, and Marie will be the honoree.