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.

Submissions for Eight Bells

If you learn of the passing of a MMA classmate, associate, friend or family member, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations so that we may include the information in our Eight Bells listings. Send obituaries or their digital links to alumni@mma.edu.

  • Robert M. Spear ’72

    Deceased date: April 26, 2010
    Robert M. Spear '72 died in Phippsburg, Maine on April 26, 2010. The son of a captain, Rob became a captain himself after graduation. First, he worked at Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol, Maine; then sailed on numerous Exxon Shipping Co. vessels as a deck…read more
  • Irving F. Banks ’67

    Deceased date: April 17, 2010
    Irving F. Banks Jr., "Buddy," 65, of Jefferson, passed away peacefully at Miles Memorial Hospital on April 17 after a brief illness. Born in Jefferson on March 17, 1945, he was the son of Irving Sr. and Cynthia (Jackson) Banks. Bud grew up in Jefferson…read more
  • John Mckinnon ’78

    Deceased date: August 8, 2009
    BANGOR – John Lewis McKinnon Jr., 53, sadly passed away Aug. 8, 2009, at a local hospital. He was born Oct. 22, 1955, in Bangor, son of John Lewis and Mary Louise (White) McKinnon. John was a graduate of Bangor High School,…read more
  • David J. Willette ’72

    Deceased date: August 19, 2008
    David Willette '72, chief engineer, died in Hermon, Maine on August 19, 2008. He had been manager of the football team at MMA and was affectionately known as "Little Willey." He spent many years as a chief engineer on ocean-going tugs before buying and op…read more
  • Paul R. Sundman ’72

    Deceased date: August 25, 2006
    P. Roger Sundman, 57, of 109 Murray Lane, died Friday, Aug. 25, 2006, at his home. He is survived by his wife, Claudia Sundman of the home; his mother, Gabrielle Sundman of Port Orange, Fla.; one brother, Robert Sundman of Stonington, Conn.; and one si…read more
  • Douglas E. Birt ’72

    Deceased date: August 7, 2006
    Douglas Edward Birt, 56, died peacefully Aug. 7, 2006, with his loving family at his side, at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y. He was born April 22, 1950, in Bangor, the son of Walter A. and Dorothy (Larlee) Birt. Douglas grew up in Eas…read more