The body of Charles “Tod” Friend, owner of Tomales Bay Oyster Company, was recovered Saturday in the waters of Tomales Bay according to his family. The oysterman was reported missing last Tuesday, after his boat was seen empty and idling in circles about five miles south of Hog Island Oysters’ boat ramp. A search by friends, family, and public safety officials began, but was suspended the following day.
Friend’s body was discovered by a group of friends who continued to search for the man after the multi-agency search was ended, according to The Press Democrat; family and friends greeted the recovery crew as Friend was brought to shore on Saturday.
Following the recovery, Tomales Bay Oyster company posted a message to its Facebook page, saying “We are deeply saddened by his loss but also heartened by the outpouring of love from all of our extended family and friends.”
Friend, 70, was a resident of Oakland, and took over Tomales Bay Oyster Company in 2009— at 100 years in operation, it’s California’s oldest continuously operated shellfish farm. He also shared ownership of The Marshall Store on Highway 1 with his daughter Heidi, and son Shannon. He began working in the area as a Hog Island employee in 1989 after managing his father’s vineyard near Healdsburg before pursuing a career in aquaculture. Friend was a beloved member of the oyster community and beyond, known for his willingness to lend a hand or give advice. Condolences and memories are pouring in:
Arrangements are being made for a memorial service; stay tuned for more.