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

The practice dates back to the days of the sailing ships, when 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.

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

  • Carl W. Jacobsen ’62

    Deceased date: November 3, 2011
    Carl William (Bill) Jacobsen made his last voyage November 3, 2011 from the home he painstakingly designed at 6226 O'Connell Street in Englewood, Florida. Bringing a touch of New England to Florida, the bay window and style of the house sets it apart from…read more
  • Douglas L. Peters ’97

    Deceased date: January 30, 2011
    Douglas L. Peters Jr., 35, of Two Rivers, Wis., died Jan. 30, 2011, at his residence, surrounded by his loving family. Doug was born July 3, 1975, in Rockland, Maine, son of Shelley (Chase) Bay and the late Douglas L. Peters Sr. In 1997 he graduated from…read more
  • Richard H. Bowen ’71

    Deceased date: May 16, 2010
    EAST WAKEFIELD, N.H. -- Richard H. Bowen, 62, died Sunday, May 16, 2010, at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, after a valiant two-and-a-half year battle with pulmonary fibrosis and a recent diagnosis of cancer. Born in Waterville, Maine, on Aug. 2…read more
  • Edgar S. Catlin ’47

    Deceased date: May 14, 2010
    Edgar S. Catlin Jr., 82, of Mere Point Road, died May 14, 2010 at his home. "Tim" was born in Portland on June 28, 1927, the son of Edgar S. and Helen Merryman Catlin Sr. He graduated from Governor Dummer Academy in 1945, Maine Maritime Academy in 1947 …read more
  • 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 a…read more
  • John L. McKinnon, Jr. ’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
  • Weiner H. Hadley ’80

    Deceased date: July 17, 2009
    Weiner H. Hadley died July 17, 2009 on the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. He worked for the Department of Transportation, Telecommunications, and Infrastructure of the FSM. When he died, his co-workers stood up and spoke about how well…read more
  • James E. Currie ’43-2

    Deceased date: September 27, 2008
    PLYMOUTH -- James E. Currie Jr., 84, of Maple Street, died Sept. 27, 2008, at Speare Memorial Hospital. He was born March 15, 1924, in Bartlett, to James E. Sr. and Alice (Clemons) Currie. He was raised in Portland, Maine, and graduated from Deering…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