Nick Bez and the Pacific Explorer


Unidentified man to the left, Nick Bez, President Harry Truman, Washington Senator Warren Magnuson. Undated, courtesy of the Bez family

One of the most fascinating people in Astoria in 1947 was Nick Bez, the millionaire immigrant fisherman, owner of gold mines and the first airline to fly into Alaska. He had taken over the Columbia River Packers Association and was poised to expand it into the global tuna fishery, using the world’s largest factory processing ship (I like to call it a boat, but Bob says it is not a boat, it was a ship).

This is a fascinating series of posts. I write about Nick and his friend, Harry Truman, while Bob traces the four ships (the Oregon, Washington, California, and the Alaska) that were built to fish for the Explorer. And out of that whole process came the building of the Cobb.

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