In early December 2001, Powerboat magazine photographer Tom Newby and I spent a weekend in Bristol, R.I., for a feature I was writing about Mike Fiore, the founder of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats. The payoff after a long day of interviews and photo shoots was a dinner at the Capital Grille in Providence with Mike and his father, Paul.
Paul Fiore and his son, Mike, were best friends.
What I remember best from that dinner was listening to Paul and Mike Fiore tell stories—the one where Mike took out his dad’s brand-new boat without permission and almost sunk it was a howler—and watching them interact. They were more like a couple of close longtime friends than father and son. The mutual love and respect between them was undeniable.
They were like brothers—minus the traditional sibling rivalry.
Paul Fiore was so gentle with his son. Mike Fiore hung on his father’s every word. Their relationship was beautiful.
Not having a father of my own in the picture, I told myself it was the kind of relationship I would have with my own then-nine-year-old son, Alex. I swore he would be my best friend someday. And now he is.
During one memorable dinner 17 years ago, Paul Fiore inspired me to be the best father I could be. I didn’t know it at the time, but he did because I’ll never forget watching him and Michael together, wishing I had that with my own father and knowing I could create it with my son.
The Paul Fiore I knew was an exceptional father and that, above all his achievements in the high-performance marine industry, is what I will always remember most about him. I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect he knew his relationship with Mike was his greatest accomplishment.
Paul, Mike and Tom Newby are gone. But the memory of that dinner we shared in Providence, a moment in time that inspired me as a father, remains.
Rest in peace, Paul Fiore. You were one hell of a boat builder. But you were an even better father.
Editor’s Note: Paul Fiore’s Celebration of Life event is set for today at 2 p.m. at the Outerlimits facility in Bristol.