John Vargo (1935-2023)

John Vargo

John Vargo

John Harry Vargo, 87, of Verplanck, editor and publisher of Boating on the Hudson and Beyond, died April 17.

He was born Oct. 7, 1935, in Buchanan, the son of John and Helen (Dohan) Vargo. His wife of 54 years, Mary Ellen died in 2013.

John purchased the magazine, which advocated all things related to the Hudson River, in 2000, and it drove his own adventurous spirit, his family said.

Before buying the publication, he worked in sales for Pitney Bowes, AT&T, Sunshine Biscuit and other companies. He was also an inventor and awarded seven patents.

John was an early member of the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and founder of the Pathways to Pollination. His passions included duck hunting; fishing (he was the author of Striped Bass: Fishing on the Hudson River, a Guide); ice-boat sailing on 150-year-old stern steering ice yacht the Maryellen and his modern bow steering The Arrow; jet skiing; and flying his hovercraft.

John, along with friends from Verplanck, including Walter Trip and Malcolm Park, founded the Optimus Pram Fleet on Lake Meahaugh, where Saturday races were a weekly ritual all summer.

He is survived by his children: John Michael, Joanne, James and Christopher (Monique); two grandchildren, Gwenevere and Gavin; and his siblings, Helen Conklin and Robert Vargo.

A funeral service was held at St. Patrick’s Church in Verplanck on April 21; a celebration of his life and legacy will be held at the Cortlandt Yacht Club at 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 23). Memorial donations may be made to the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (

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