Alongside the industry, NMMA is mourning the loss of Robert T. Healey Sr., Viking Yacht Co. co-founder, and a 2003 inductee into the NMMA Hall of Fame, who passed away Dec. 9 at age 92. Healey Sr. and his brother, Bill, established Viking Yachts in 1964, and the company went on to become the largest manufacturer of sport fishing yachts in the world. He was an industry leader who, among his many achievements, helped lead the fight to repeal the Federal Luxury Tax on yachts in the early 1990s.
From a Viking Yachts statement released following Healey Sr.’s passing:
“My father was a true leader, and his vision will always guide us,” said his son, Robert Healey Jr. “He believed that the people around him – his family, friends and employees – lifted him to success and it was his obligation to leave the world a better place.”
“My uncle’s efforts to repeal the Federal Luxury Tax on yachts will never be forgotten,” said Bill’s son and Viking Yachts President and CEO Pat Healey. “He saved not only Viking but the entire marine industry. He was the catalyst and leader, and he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He was a brilliant lawyer and savvy businessman who was able to convince the politicians in Washington that this was very much a JOBS ISSUE. It was about good hardworking people losing their ability to provide for their families. Bob’s 11th-hour lobbying efforts with Congressman Bill Hughes, who represented N.J.’s Second District, helped secure the votes needed to repeal the Luxury Tax in 1993. “It was a great victory for our family-owned-and-operated boatbuilding company, the people of New Jersey and everyone in the marine industry,” said Pat Healey.
As Viking’s Chairman of the Board for 57 years, Healey Sr. diversified their financial interests into multi-family, industrial and commercial real estate, oil and gas exploration and development, and the financial management of the Healey family assets.
Through the years, he received many awards and accolades for his achievements in the marine and business industry, including induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame in 2003 and the New Jersey Marine Trade Association Hall of Fame; 2019 IBI-METSTRADE Boat Builder Lifetime Achievement Award; the Rowan University Milestone Award for leadership, practice and commitment to South Jersey communities; and nomination for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to charities supported by The Robert T. Healey Sr. Charitable Trust, which include the Healey International Relief Foundation, the Healey Education Foundation and the Gleneayre Equestrian Program.