George “Two Toots” Marks, 76, died suddenly after suffering a cardiac event at his home Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017.

George was born and raised in Baltimore as a ward of Catholic Charities. After a youth of extensive travel across the country, he found himself in Maine in 1975 as a stop on the road to following his dream of a life on the water. In 1976, he married Nancy Johnson. The couple settled in Rockland, where, over the next 41 years, he designed and built many seaworthy vessels – one of which, a catamaran, the Peachy T., he and his young family lived on in Rockland harbor for a time.

Accomplished in many fields, over the years George owned and operated a portrait studio, was a top salesman at area motor vehicle dealerships and held a master’s license as a heating, plumbing and electrical engineer. He respected history, and one of his greatest interests was World War II. Through it all, he could never escape the call of the sea, and wanting to share that passion with others. He taught a course on navigation on the local TV station, and was published in Cruising World magazine.

In the late 1990s, George created the only free sailing school in Rockland. People traveled from throughout the northeast to take this unprecedented course on the Dzuiba – a one-of-a-kind Chinese junk he designed and built. From there, he constructed small dinghy sailboats to teach children the love of the water.

Having earned his master captain’s status, George’s seafaring evolved into “Two Toots” Launch and Mooring service, offering water taxi and mooring services as well as harbor tours. He soon became known for his depth of knowledge, dependability and, often, opinions on city politics and goings-on in the harbor. Two Toots’ painted mooring balls were floating works of art. For nearly 20 years, George was the unofficial face of Rockland by way of sea, welcoming sailors from around the world to the city. Seven days a week from April  through October, he could be spotted puttering around the harbor or tied to “his” middle pier awaiting the next call from a boater.

While his reputation as a crusty curmudgeon often preceded him, those who knew George best appreciated the wisdom of his life experiences, dedication and desire to teach. Outside of his public persona, his family knew George as hardworking, loyal and forward-thinking. He was an old salt with a heart of gold, unafraid to fight for what he believed was right. To know him wasn’t always to love him, but to know him was to respect him.

Always quick with a story, few people were aware of all that he had achieved over his lifetime. George was humble about his accomplishments, excepting the pride he had in his family. He enjoyed nothing more than watching his grandchildren, nieces and nephews enjoy life.

George is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter Marlayna Rutter, her husband, Jesse, his beloved grandchildren, Max, Carly, Sam and Audrey Rutter, all of Sound Beach, N.Y.; and his many nieces and nephews, whom he loved dearly.

To honor George, an informal gathering of friends and relatives will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation, 477 Congress St., Suite M1, Portland, ME 04101 or Coastal Opportunities, 35 Limerock St., Camden, ME. 04843. To share a memory with the Marks family,  visit their online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.