Local Man Lost at
Sea For 25 Years
Returns for Reunion
Douglas Torrey, a 1979 alumnus of Portville, celebrated his 25th-year high school reunion with an added
emphasis. It was the first time he'd been to his hometown since being rescued from an island in the Pacific - where
he had been for the last quarter of a century!
Torrey was accidently discovered and brought back to America by fellow Portville grad, Dr. Dave Barton,
who was leading an oceanography expedition for the University of San Diego in April of this year. Barton
recognized Torrey, who had been lost at sea while serving in the Navy right out of high school. He was living happily
among a group of natives, apparently the victim of severe memory loss.
"Every so often, our ocean team runs into a person or persons who somebody is looking for," explained Dr.
Barton. "U.S. customs, the Navy, the CIA, and various entities give us info on missing or wanted persons.
Doug has never been on the list, but we all heard about his disappearance way back in '79. We found him near Rapa Island
in the South Pacific. I couldn't believe it was him. He didn't know who I was, but after a few days, he started
remembering things about Portville - the Drive-In, football, stealing from Perry's Ice Cream, and other oddities," added Barton.
Torrey's memory has been improving daily since arriving in Portville. "I went active two days after
graduation," Torrey recalled with some clarity. "After basic training, the Navy sent me out on some exercise, and I
went overboard during a huge storm. I ended up on a beach and lived on berries for days, nursing my wounds. The
berries were hallucinogenic and really screwed up my mind and memory," claimed the former Panther football player. "Next
thing you know, and I'm part of the local community. I couldn't remember anything, but they treated me like a god, so
I stuck around."
(To be continued)