It's been more than two weeks since Michael Porper Jr. was lost at sea, and his family continues to struggle with grief.
The 38-year-old Gloucester native was among the four crewmen aboard the dragger Emmy Rose when it went down early Nov. 23 off Provincetown.
"It's difficult, sometimes it's really hard — just too much," said his father, Michael.
"We just want to thank everyone for their calls, visits and concerns," he added, speaking for the family.
Porper said his son, known as Mikey, was born, raised and attended schools in Gloucester, and started working on fishing boats when he 15. "He really never stopped," he added.
"His great-grandfather was a famous fisherman, and he wanted want to be just like him," he said, referring to Capt. Robert Porper, who skippered several fishing schooners, most notably the Cavalier in the early 1900s. Robert Porper was noted by author Gordon Thomas as a "highliner" in the fishery, his vessels catching more halibut than any other Gloucester schooners.
"This is the first person we lost in 100 years...since a great uncle went down," his father said of the longtime Gloucester fishing family.
"He's the last guy we had at sea," his dad said. He said he liked to go down to the docks to meet his son when his boat came in, and watch the catch being landed.
"Mikey was hardworking, a special kind of guy," Porper said. "He had a great heart on him, too. We didn't lose his heart either. He meant everything."
The family will host a memorial service in Gloucester at a later date.
A memorial for the crewmen of the Emmy Rose — Porper, skipper Robert Blethen, Jeff Matthews and Ethan Ward, all of Maine — will be held at the Portland Fish Pier in Portland, Maine, this Saturday, Dec. 12, at noon. If the weather is inclement, the service will move to Portland Fish Exchange. Any updates for this event will be posted to the Sustainable Harvest Sector's website, www.groundfish.org/shs/, and Facebook page.
Andrea Holbrook may be contacted at 978-675-2713 or firstname.lastname@example.org.