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HomeMagazineInside SOTW Mag: Gently Giant—Howard Arneson, 1921-2020

Inside SOTW Mag: Gently Giant—Howard Arneson, 1921-2020

During the early 2000s, Howard Arneson, the inventor of the Arneson surface drive, delivered the keynote address at one of Powerboat magazine’s Awards For Product Excellence banquets. A slight, soft-spoken man with a mischievous glimmer in his eyes that were always framed by triple-thick glasses, Arneson walked slowly to the podium. He waited for the applause from his  fellow high-performance marine industry colleagues to subside before he spoke.

With the passing of Howard Arneson, the high-performance marine industry lost one of its most legendary and influential figures.

“A few months ago I went to lunch with my friend Ross Perot,” he said. “As you know, Ross was running for President at the time.

“We walked into this coffee shop together and the place went silent,” he continued. “Old Ross, he pumped up like a banty rooster and nudged me. He whispered in my ear, ‘What do you think all these people here are thinking right now?’”

Arneson paused for effect and smiled, then spoke again. “And I said, ‘They’re probably thinking, who’s that having lunch with Howard Arneson?’”

Several minutes later—after the applause and laughter died down—Arneson was able to finish his speech. It was a moment of pure joy from a colorful character who, by all accounts, delivered countless such moments. To read the entire Howard Arneson tribute and more, subscribe to Speed On The Water digital magazine by clicking here.

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