Eight Bells

The practice of using bells stems from the days of the sailing ships. Sailors couldn't afford to have their own time pieces and relied on the ship's bells to tell time. The ship's boy kept time by using a half-hour glass. Each time the sand ran out, he would turn the glass over and ring the appropriate number of bells. Each ship “watch” is four hours, or eight bells, in length.

The tradition of Eight Bells pays respect to deceased mariners and signifies that a sailor's “watch” is over.

  • Capt. Benson A. Bowditch, Jr. ’64

    Deceased date: April 19, 2017
    Captain Benson Alvord Bowditch Jr., passed away on April 19, 2017 after suffering a heart attack. He was born in Richmond, Indiana December 28, 1941. His parents were Benson A. Bowditch Sr. and Elise Gail Tappan Bowditch. Surviving Ben are his loving w…read more
  • Capt. Peter A. Thorpe ’67

    Deceased date: April 5, 2017
    Capt. Peter A. Thorpe (Capt. Pete), passed away suddenly April 5, 2017.
    Born April 12, 1945 in Boston, Massachusetts to James and Signa Thorpe, he grew up in Massachusetts and Maine. He graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1…read more
  • Robert M. Purton ’56

    Deceased date: April 3, 2017
    Robert M. Purton passed away on April 3, 2017. Bob was born in St. Steven, Canada and later became a naturalized citizen upon attending the academy in 1953, graduating in 1956. He is survived by his wife Maureen, daughter Kim, son-in-law Brad, 5 grandchi…read more
  • Thomas S. MacVane ’52

    Deceased date: March 31, 2017
    BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. - Tom MacVane passed into the arms of our Lord March 31, 2017 at home surrounded by loved ones. Born Thomas Stanley MacVane to Henry and Eva Clarke MacVane on June 20, 1930 in Portland. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of…read more
  • Michael J. Gallagher ’92

    Deceased date: March 27, 2017
    PALM CITY, Fla. - With deep sadness we mourn the sudden passing of Michael J. Gallagher on March 27 at the age of 46 with his wife Sheila at his side. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on May 26, 1970, the son of Robert C. Gallagher and Patricia A. Gal…read more
  • Cmdr. Arthur E. Lapham ’53

    Deceased date: March 15, 2017

    DURHAM – Arthur E. Lapham, 84, passed away Saturday, March 11, 2017 in Durham. Mr. Lapham was born in Winthrop, Maine. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edith Marion Chapman Lapham and Leslie Ellis Lapham; and a brother, Leslie Laph…read more

  • John V. Sawyer II ’54

    Deceased date: March 9, 2017
    JONESPORT - John V. Sawyer, II, 83, died March 9, 2017, in Machias. He was born October 3, 1933, in Bangor, to Daniel J. and Evelyn (Wind) Sawyer. John graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1954, sailed for a short time on an oil tanker and served t…read more
  • Capt. Shirley H. Holt III ’53

    Deceased date: March 1, 2017
    NORTH HAMPTON - Capt. Shirley H. Holt III., 84, of Hickory Ave., in North Hampton, died on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at his home surrounded by his loving family. Shirley was born in Kittery on November 11, 1932 a son of the late Capt. Shirley H. Holt Jr.…read more
  • Frederick Leone ’43-2

    Deceased date: February 12, 2017
    PORTLAND - Frederick Leone, 92, formerly of 731 Washington Ave., died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, at his home in Portland with his family by his side. He was born in Portland, May 13, 1924, the son of Loretto and Ma…read more
  • Robert E. Cort ’53

    Deceased date: January 30, 2017
    Robert E. Cort, 84, died peacefully January 25, 2017, at the age of 84. He was born June 21, 1932, in Bangor. Bob graduated from Brewer HS and attended Maine Maritime Academy the following year, where he earned his Marine Engineering degree in 1953. He…read more