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Captain Ken & Jean Marie Jastrzebski
Jean Marie Dive Charters

Ken & Jean Marie Jastrzebski - click to view a larger image...

In Memoriam: Both Ken and Jean Marie Jastrzebski from Jean Marie Dive Charters on Long Island died in a tragic automobile accident on April 22, 2005 while driving home to New York after spending the winter in Tarpon Springs Florida.

Captain Ken and his wife Jean Marie operated the dive boat Jean Marie out of Shinnecock, Long Island for many years, providing Northeast wreck divers a comfortable means to explore some of the wrecks located off the eastern end of Long Island.

After many years of wreck diving off the coast of New York and New Jersey, we decided to begin exploring the waters off the south fork of Long Island. With a number of other dive boats to choose from, we decided to give the Jean Marie first crack. After meeting Ken and Jean Marie about three years ago we felt completely overtaken by their warmth and kindness.

We always looked forward to seeing them each year when wreck diving season began. A day of diving on the Jean Marie was always a very pleasurable experience. Ken’s infectious enthusiasm for diving and his genuine concern for the comfort and safety of his passengers always combined to make each day aboard his vessel a memorable one.

Last Jean Marie Group Picture - click to view a larger image...

And, upon returning to the dock, we were always happy to see Jean Marie and enjoy some of her famous strawberries and whipped cream…the perfect touch to send us home wanting to come back for more.

Sadly, we only had the pleasure of knowing them for a short time. Captain Ken and Jean Marie will be deeply missed by us as well as the entire dive community.

Couple Picture Courtesy (top): Hampton Dive Center
Group Picture Courtesy (bottom): Jean Marie Dive Charters

"Sink a Ship" fundraiser: To memorialize Ken and Jean Jastrzebski, a DEC-cleaned vessel will be scuttled at the artificial reef in their memory. This costs about 8,000 - 10,000 US. To raise the funds, the coordinators rely on the dive community. Please contact chief-coordinator Freddie Hughes at Scubahb@optonline.net to be part of this historic memorial and easily make a contribution to the Ken and Jean Jastrzebski Fund. Checks for the "Sink a Ship" fund can be made out to:

The Jastrzebski Fund
c/o Freddie Hughes
3 White Lane
Hampton Bays, NY 11946

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What Happened

Couple killed in I-10 crash
Wreck snarls traffic rerouted through town

By James L. Rosica and Jennifer Jefferson
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITERS ( PDF Version )

Posted on Saturday, April. 23, 2005
Courtesy: http://www.tallahassee.com/

Two people from Port Washington, N.Y., were killed in a fiery wreck Friday on Interstate 10 near the Thomasville Road exit.

The westbound lanes of the interstate were closed for several hours, causing gridlock in portions of Tallahassee as police diverted highway traffic through town.

The Florida Highway Patrol identified the victims as Kenneth Jasterzebski, 57, and Jean Jasterzebski, 56. They were pronounced dead at the scene, the FHP said.

Here's what happened, according to state troopers:

A Ford van driven by Nicholas Blackburn of Panama City was traveling east on I-10 around 9:30 a.m. when he tried to move from the right to left lane.

Blackburn's vehicle veered toward the Jasterzebskis' van. Kenneth Jasterzebski, who was driving, tried to avoid a collision but lost control. His van struck Blackburn's vehicle.

The Jasterzebskis' van then traveled across the median and overturned, sending it directly into the path of a tractor-trailer driven by Dennis Parenteau of Macclenny.

His truck rammed the overturned van. Both vehicles came to a stop on the shoulder and burst into flames. Blackburn and Parenteau were not injured.

No one was charged as of Friday afternoon.

Westbound I-10 was closed from the U.S. 90 (Mahan Drive) to U.S. 27 (North Monroe Street) exits for several hours, Tallahassee Police Department spokesman John Newland said. Traffic was rerouted along U.S. 90. Eastbound traffic between U.S. 27 and Thomasville Road was restricted to one lane.

Mary McQuary was on her way to work at Cross Creek Driving Range and Par 3 Golf on Mahan Drive near the interstate when she was diverted when trying to use U.S. 90.

She was not prepared for the flashing lights of the fire trucks or the stalled traffic. "Oh, my God; it was awful," McQuary said.

Motorists were rerouted to Mahan Drive and Monroe Street. Many travelers ventured downtown, which packed Mahan Drive to Blair Stone Road and Tennessee to Monroe streets, Newland said.

Traffic did not begin to move smoothly until after 2 p.m. when the interstate reopened.

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About Ken

Fixtures in a diving community shattered...

Jean Marie Dive Charters - click to view larger image...Captain Ken has always been passionate about the sea. When he was growing up in Queens, he spent much of his spare time helping his grand father build wooden boats in their backyard. They would eventually launch these boats out onto Jamaica Bay and spend hours fishing and clamming off the Long Island shores.

Like many who loved the ocean, Ken was a huge fan of the TV show "Sea Hunt" which starred Lloyd Bridges. This show was instrumental in bring skin diving to the public's attention and inspired a newfound interest in the sport.

"I'd always be out there and wonder what the fish looked like underwater," Ken told Offshore magazine in 2001. "I couldn't wait to get older and see the fish the way Lloyd Bridges did. I had to do it. It was a passion."

It was this interest that Ken dreamed about and the fond memories with his grand father that helped develop his great love for the sea.

He served four years in the US Navy (1967-1971) where after a short stay at the Naval Photographic Center in Washington D.C. he became part of the commissioning crew of the U.S.S. Seattle. He began diving in the early 1970's and still approaches each dive with the same youthful enthusiasm.

His three sons; Chris, Kevin, and Steven are certified divers and have many enjoyable memories of diving with their dad on vacations in the Bahamas, Channel Islands etc. His wife, Jean Marie which the vessel is named after, decided to join the ranks as a certified diver after years of being exposed to their diving ventures.

While working in the seafood importing business, Ken decided to leave his high pressured job and devote his full time to the daily operations of the Jean Marie. This allowed him to customized his charters which was primarily for diving, but also included fishing and sunset cruises. Excerpts Courtesy: Jean Marie Dive Charters

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Last Modified: July 05, 2009

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