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

  • 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
  • Robert B. Dickinson ’06

    Deceased date: July 25, 2008
    Rob Dickinson, 50, passed away Friday, July 25, 2008, at Millinocket Regional Hospital. He was born Sept. 29, 1957, son of Robert G. and Joan L. (Jardine) Dickinson. Rob grew up in Millinocket and was a graduate of Stearns High School, Class of 1976. Rob …read more
  • Mark Allen ’71

    Deceased date: April 11, 2008
    Mark Allen, 59, husband of Kathleen (Davis) Allen, died April 11, 2008, at a Florida hospital. He was born Aug. 17, 1948, in Dover-Foxcroft, and was raised by his grandparents, Howard and Anna (Platt) Allen. Mark graduated from Foxcroft Academy, Class of…read more
  • John B. Frisbee ’80

    Deceased date: October 6, 2007
    KITTERY POINT, ME - John Byron Frisbee, 50, of Pepperrell Road, died Saturday, October 6, 2007, at York Hospital.  He was born June 15, 1957 in Portsmouth NH,…read more
  • Donald G. Quaintance ’65

    Deceased date: January 21, 2007
    Donald G. Quaintance, 63, Kissimmee, died Sunday, January 21, 2007.  …read more