By WAWASEE BOAT COMPANY STAFF
Wawasee Boat Company is excited to announce a milestone award that has been presented to John Cripe, who was the founder and long-time owner of JC Pontoons. Cripe has been inducted into the Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine’s Hall of Fame. Cripe passed away in 1999.
Wawasee Boat Company has been a JC Pontoon dealer since the early 1980’s. They have always built one of the highest quality pontoons on the market and we have been honored to represent them over the years. We have been further blessed by the fact that John’s son, Kim Cripe, is the current president and owner of the company. From JC’s factory in North Webster, Cripe carries on the tradition of building the best quality pontoons. Cripe also lives on Lake Wawasee and therefore is intimately acquainted with the needs of pontoon boaters on the lake.
John Cripe was born in northern Indiana in 1918 and was educated at Purdue University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. During WWII he worked for JD Adams, an engineering firm out of New York. Their primary focus was on projects for the Navy in ship building and design. After the war, Cripe moved back to Indiana with his wife and two young sons where he started Cripe Equipment Company and built custom machinery for various industries. Being a dreamer, he developed a number of products that he patented and sold. This allowed him to get back to his first real live, which was boats, and in the mid 1950’s he started building Sylvan pontoon boats.
In 1976 Cripe purchased a small boat builder in Topeka by the name of Party Barge. In 1977, he partnered with Jerry Amsden and purchased the current JC Manufacuring Facility in North Webster. With that, JC Pontoon was off and running.
“Some of the new, high tech designs we see today on the water look like design sketches he drew four decades ago,” said his son Kim Cripe, who currently owns and operates JC Pontoon today. “He loved bright colors, speed and flash and he believed that you cannot build a boat in the board room. It must be done on the dock.”