Nick Barron, the legendary founder and president of Hallett Boats, passed away on March 2, 2017, at the age of 85. He had been battling cancer for 18 months and was in the City of Hope Hospital surrounded by his family when he died.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Shirley; two sons, Tom and Jerry; two stepchildren, Doug and Darla; sisters Caroline Norman and Fritzie Slavin; and a brother, Thomas Barron. Nick Barron also had six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Hallett was one of the best-known names in performance boating on the West Coast, and Barron’s son Jerry Barron said that he and Hallett Boats sales manager, Jim Frisbie, will keep Hallett at the forefront of the industry. “Nick did a great job setting up myself and Jim Frisbie to put us into a good position to keep the legacy going,” Jerry Barron said. “Business is very good, and we’re going to continue to strive to build the best quality product that we can give to our loyal customers.”
Customer loyalty has been a hallmark of Hallett Boats. Jerry Barron said that he can’t begin to count the number of repeat customers Hallett has had. “One thing about boat buyers is that they don’t move down,” he explained. “We have many customers who have bought the same or similar model multiple times.”
Nick Barron started Hallett building ski boats in the family garage, and his son said that, while going through old photos, he had forgotten about some of the exotic ski-race boats the company had built through the years, starting with 18-foot mini cruisers with big engines and V-drives and 21-foot models with Speedmaster high-performance drives. Hallett’s ski-racing customers included Gary Steele, legendary performance-parts maker Vic Edelbrock, and the Herbst family. Nick Barron served on the board of the California Marine Association and was inducted into the American Water Ski Association Hall of Fame in 2017.
As the company evolved, one of the elder Barron’s highlights was the introduction of Hallett’s first 30-foot offshore-style model, the 300-T, which we tested at Powerboat magazine when it was first unveiled. Jerry Barron said that his father’s favorite boat was probably the 400-T, a 40-foot offshore performance model.
Hallett’s recent partnership with Michael Peters Yacht Design has resulted in the company using the designer’s V2D twin-stepped bottom. When we spoke, Jerry Barron said that Hallett is currently building a 400-T with twin Mercury Racing 1100s and NXT Six drives. “We’re just always trying to build a safer-handling boat,” Jerry Barron said.
Funeral services for Nick Barron will be held on Wednesday, March 15 at 10 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Monrovia, California. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Barron’s name to:
City of Hope
1500 E. Duarte Road
Duarte, CA 91010
Carmelite Sisters at Santa Teresita
819 Buena Vista St.
Duarte, CA 91010