According to John Cichanowicz of Burgess, Capt. Rob Ferneding passed away in Fort Lauderdale Friday, May 20. He was 53. The cause of death is still unknown, but it appears to be natural causes.
“It was inexplicable,” Cichanowicz says. Ferneding had moved ashore within the last few months from M/Y Daybreak, a 46-meter Feadship.
Cichanowicz knew Ferneding for 25 years. They met when they were both working on boats at the Grand Prix of Miami; Ferneding even worked as Cichanowicz’s relief captain upon occasion. “He was lovely; well liked and respected,” says Cichanowicz. “One of his endearing characteristics was his joking. Everyone knew him for his great humor, jokes, and laughter.”
Karina Roholte Befeld of Elite Crew International echoes those sentiments. “Rob was a good man with a big heart, well liked by all of his crew,” she says. “He was fit and active throughout his whole life, so this comes as a shock to all.”
Roholte Befeld first met Ferneding in 1999. “We introduced him to his late wife Cynthia by placing her as a chief stewardess with him back in the day,” she says. “[It’s] a very sad day for all.”
Ferneding is survived by his mother, stepfather, sisters, brothers, daughter, grandson, and his love, Alicia. The funeral service will be held Saturday, May 28, from 4–6 p.m. at Fred Hunters Funeral Home, at 2401 S. University, Davie, FL, 33324. A reception will follow at Sal’s house at 8835 Southern Orchard Rd., Davie, FL, 33328. The family has also asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the memorial service and cremation at www.youcaring.com/rob-ferneding-and-the-multiple-sclerosis-society-575905. Any remaining funds after funeral expenses will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
A social gathering to celebrate his life will also be held on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, at Boatyard (formerly Bimini Boatyard), in the Copper Room, from 6–8 p.m. To inquire for more details, email John Cichanowicz at email@example.com.