HARTVELD, Willem Leendert (1917-1958), 41, drowned August 31, 1959, and was lost at sea after the 16-foot boat in which he and two others were fishing at Anacapa Island capsized. Also drowned was J. D. Scurlock. After 21 hours in the water, Donald Spencer was picked up by a Japanese freighter and taken to San Francisco.
Hartveld has a memorial at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Ventura, California. His headstone notes: Lost at Sea.
In the News~
September 1, 1958 [LAT]: “Boat upset, man swims for 18 hours. An exhausted Ventura man, swimming for 18 hours after his small boat overturned and his two companions drowned, was rescued yesterday off Anacapa Island. The Japanese freighter Nichiwa Maru radioed the Coast Guard that it had picked up Donald Spencer, who was in critical condition from exhaustion and exposure, about five miles off the east side of the island. According to the Coast Guard, Spencer identified the missing men as William Hartveld, 42, and J. D. Scurlock, 38. Spencer told the Japanese crewmen the outboard motor was swamped Saturday night, about five miles off the island. At noon, about three hours before Spencer was rescued, a Coast Guard cutter from Port Hueneme answered a call and hauled in an overturned 16-foot boat believed to be the one which had carried the three men. An attempt was being made to identify the owner through the motor number. Spencer was missed by the cutter since he had swum five miles after the accident, the Coast Guard said. A cutter made rendezvous with the freighter to pick up Spencer but he could not be removed because of his condition. The freighter is due in San Francisco today at 11 a.m. meanwhile a Coast Guard cutter from Santa Barbara and the Anacapa lighthouse boat crews planned to continue a sea search through the night for traces of the two missing men.”
September 2, 1958 [OPC]: “1 Saved, 2 Missing in Boating Mishap. A Foster Park man was rescued and two companions apparently drowned after their small fishing boat overturned while they were refueling it about five miles off Anacapa Island late Saturday. The fog-shrouded coastal water this morning continued to defy Coast Guardsmen and others in their attempts to locate the missing men. Missing and presumed drowned are: William L. Hartveld, 42, 61 Stanley Avenue, Ventura J. D. Scurlock, 38, 187 Eva Street, Ventura. The third man, Donald Spencer, Route 1 Box 708, Foster Park, was picked up by the Japanese freighter Nichiwa Maru off Anacapa Island at 3:32 p.m. Sunday after more than 21 hours in the water, supported by a buoyant boat cushion. When the freighter docked early today in San Francisco, he told the Inited Press International reporters the trio had been refueling their outboard motor off Anacapa Island about 6 p.m. Saturday when a large wave struck the boat and it overturned. He said they tried to swim to Anacapa, about five miles away, but currents swept them away from the island. Mr. Hartveld sank below the surface after just two hours before Mr. Spencer was rescued, he said. Mr. Spencer said his rescue can be credited to an unidentified Japanese seaman “with the eyes of an eagle” who spotted him floating in the fogbound waters. Mr. Spencer was reported suffering from exhaustion, but otherwise appeared to be in good health and seemed to be recovering from his ordeal. When word was flashed to the Coast Guard after Mr. Spencer was found, all rescue agencies in the county swung into action. Arthur Maloy, Jr. 434 East Laurel St., Oxnard, and Lt. Al Jalaty of the Sheriff's office in Oxnard, flew over the sea late Sunday in James Reardon's private plane, but were unable to spot anything because of the fog which continued to blanket the area up to noon today. Two Coast Guard cutters were dispatched from the Los Angeles area and continue to scour the waters off the coast today. A helicopter from Oxnard Air Force Base swept the area near Anacapa Island late Saturday [?], but was forced to give up because of fog and half-mile visibility below a 200-foot ceiling. Pilot and copilot were Air Force Lts. Frederick J. Schwelbold and Robert H. Rockwell.”
September 5, 1958 [OPC]: “Search for missing fishermen called off. Formal search for two men, one a native Oxnarder, who drowned last Saturday off Anacapa Island has been called off. All boats of the Navy and Coast Guard which go into the area near Anacapa where the tragedy occurred will continue to be on the lookout for the bodies of the missing men. They are Willem Hartveld, 41, Ventura, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hartveld of the Patterson Ranch west of Oxnard, and J. D. Scurlock, 38, also of Ventura. Donald Spencer of Foster Park, who was picked up by a Japanese freighter 21 hours after the 16-foot craft from which the trio had been fishing capsized, has returned home from Fan Francisco where he was put ashore from the ship. Mr Hartveld was born in Oxnard February 5, 1917. After attending Oxnard schools he was called to active duty with the 144th National Guard Division. He had lost an eye from a gunnery range mishap and received a medical discharge. His wife, Betty Spencer Hartveld, sister of the surviving member of the fishing party, resides at 61 Stanley Avenue, Ventura. They have no children. Other survivors include Mr. Hartveld's brothers and sisters. They are Mrs Harold F. Lundberg, the former Jacoba Hartveld, who flew here from Phoenix yesterday and will return home tomorrow; Mrs. Kent Ida Kyle, Camarillo; Mrs. E. t. (Priscilla) Hivner, 1183 South Patterson Road; Mrs. Frank (Bethia) Vujovich, 3576 West Woolley Road; and Abe Hartveld, 552 Palm Drive.”