Eight Bells

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

  • Thomas F. Joyce ’46

    died on February 25, 2020. He worked as a merchant mariner for Lykes Steamship Company of New Orleans and Waterman Steamship Company of Alabama. In 1952 he was called to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He served as a gunnery officer on the battleship USS Miller, which was instrumental in the bombardment of the Korean coast. After the war, Joyce graduated from Boston College. For the next two years he worked at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C. and then returned to Maine to begin teaching. He taught social studies and English at schools around Maine for 20 years. He concluded his professional life working for the State of Maine Department of Labor.

  • Richard W. Merrill ’47

    died on February 19, 2020. After graduating from Cony High School, Merrill attended MMA and the University of Maine at Orono. He proudly served as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy as a radio officer aboard the USS Rankin. He worked as a civil engineer for the Maine Department of Transportation for nearly 40 years, retiring 30 years ago. Merrill enjoyed classical music and played in the Augusta Symphony and Hallowell Band.

  • CDR. Russell B. Bridgham ’51

    died on January 2, 2020. Bridgham received his bachelor’s degree from MMA and master’s degree from George Washington University. He served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was a captain and commodore of Minesweeper Division 91 during the Vietnam War where he was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor. He was an instructor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He then served with the United Nations Armistice Command in South Korea. In his retirement, Bridgham served as the executive director of the John Ancrum SPCA, currently the Charleston (SC) Animal Society.

  • Robert L. Ellis ’51

    died on November 14, 2019. Ellis excelled in high school, playing football, and winning the state championship in the high hurdles in the spring of 1948–a point of pride his entire life. After graduating from MMA, he sailed around the world until 1955. Ellis worked for 18 years for Sheridan Corporation in Fairfield as VP of sales, then in the final work chapter of his life, spent 19 years as a Code Enforcement Officer. Ellis’s life was filled with public service. He was a member of the volunteer ambulance service, he won two terms as a member of the town council, and four terms as mayor.

  • David C. MacNichol ’53

    died on December 6, 2019. After MMA he was drafted into the Army and became one of the few to be able to call themselves a “Blue Nose,” crossing the Arctic Circle in August, 1955 while serving aboard the USS Fort Mandan in the Transportation Corps. He was awarded the US Soldiers Medal for heroic action. Returning to Eastport, MacNichol worked with his father at MacNichol Ford Sales for a number of years and was a volunteer fireman. MacNichol later went on to earn BS and MS degrees in History at the University of Maine. He had a career in banking as a bank examiner for the Federal government and then at the Maine National Bank in Portland. He retired to Eastport in 2007.

  • Gilbert P. Sorenson ’53

    died on November 19, 2019 on Long Island. Sorenson, Maine Maritime’s “Brooklyn, New York Boy” loved the state of Maine. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy as an officer during the Korean War. He then became one of New York’s bravest as a New York City Fireboat Pilot. He retired in 1979 from the NYFD and worked for the U.S. Coast Guard, Governors Island, New York on their ferryboats, transporting Coast Guard personnel to and from lower Manhattan.

  • Damon P. Rivard ’55

    died on January 18, 2020. Rivard was an engineer with General Dynamics, Quincy Shipbuilding Division and then at Quonset Point until his retirement. He served in the U.S. Navy, being honorably discharged as Lieutenant. He was a communicant of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wickford, active with the Wickford Art Festival, past commodore and house committee chair of the Wickford Yacht Club.

  • Capt. G. David Fenderson ’56

    died on December 9, 2019. At MMA, he served as a cadet officer and was co-captain of the football team. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant and assigned to the carrier USS Cape Esperance and then the USS Cotton as a chief engineer. He also served as chief engineer on the USS Cassin Young (DD-793). During his years in the Naval Reserve, he was the commanding officer in Burlington, Vermont and Portland, Maine, and on the Admiral’s Readiness Command in Newport, Rhode Island. He retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of captain. Fenderson began his civilian career as a service engineer for Hyde Windlass in Bath, Maine, and in 1961 began a long tenure with Texaco. In 1976, he and his wife, Margaret, started their own petroleum distributorship, Maine Lubrication Service. In 1999, Fenderson retired from his business to explore his numerous passions. Fenderson was a member of the MMA Wall of Honor, the William J. Mottola Sports Hall of Fame, and was past president of the MMA Alumni Association.

  • Lawrence W. Gribbin ’56

    died on December 13, 2019. He served in the Navy as Engineering Officer on both the USS Cook and the USS Boxer. After the Navy, Gribbin spent most of his 35 years at sea with American Export Lines, sailing all over the world. In the mid-1960s, he trained in the operation of the first U.S. nuclear powered commercial merchant vessel, the NS Savannah. He quickly rose to the rank of senior reactor operator. He remained there until 1971. He then sailed on container ships as chief engineer for both AEL and Farrell Lines until retirement in the early ’90s. He then opened his own business, Farrell Electronics. Gribbin was a fiction writer, having had three novels published.

  • William A. Lowell II ’56

    died on February 16, 2020. Lowell was educated in Phippsburg, Bath and MMA. After several years in the Merchant Marine he joined Bath Iron Works as the chief operating engineer then VP/general manager of the Portland Ship Repair Yard. For the past 25 years he owned Maritime Consulting. Lowell was a member of the Naval Reserves for 31 years, retiring as captain. His career took him across the globe. He loved to travel and loved his work which continued until his death. He always maintained contact with the friends he developed over the years, enjoying lobster bakes at his summer home at Cox’s Head, poker games, and breakfast at Mae’s Café.

  • Cmdr. Stephen M. Levine ’64

    died on March 10, 2020. A graduate of MMA and the University of Southern Maine, Levine served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a decorated lieutenant on the USCG Taney during the Vietnam War. Upon completing his active duty, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve for more than two decades, retiring with the rank of commander. He was employed by The Travelers and AIG in the safety engineering divisions. Levine will also be remembered for his enthusiastic coaching of youth soccer, being an avid reader, and his culinary creativity.

  • William D. Jeffrey ’65

    died on February 22, 2019. Jeffrey served as a lieutenant in the U. S. Naval Reserves for 18 years. He then worked for the Massachusetts Port Authority, where his responsibility was the protection of life and property from fire. He was an expert and received a commendation for leadership and professionalism while in command of firefighting, successfully combating an aircraft engine fire with people on board. He became senior pilot for the Port of St. Thomas where he was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard Plaque of Merit and the U.S. Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for the rescue of the crew of a runaway vessel off St. Thomas. His career spanned 45 years of public service.

  • Capt. Peter D. Lie-Nielsen ’66

    died on March 17, 2020. Lie-Nielsen was regimental commander for the academy’s corps of cadets. He sailed all over the world in the merchant service, working his way up through the ranks from third mate to master (captain), qualified for unlimited tonnage on all oceans. He was greatly respected in his field. In the mid-1980s Lie-Nielsen moved to Alaska where he qualified as a ports pilot for southeast and central Alaskan ports. He retired in 2017.

  • William M. Martin ’66

    died on February 2, 2020. After graduating from MMA, he went to sea for five years, ultimately becoming a captain. Martin then took a job with Texaco, becoming VP of sales for their lubricant division and had a successful career for 35-plus years. He took great pride in his job and became passionate about the Texaco/Havoline-sponsored NASCAR team, often manning the Texaco hospitality tent and entertaining clients, friends, and family.

  • Merle B. Pierce, Jr. ’67

    died on March 18, 2020. He sailed as an engineer for Texaco from 1967 to 1970 and winters until 1986. He also worked for Stone & Webster of Boston for a year. He returned to Harpswell to be a lobsterman, his lifelong dream.

  • Capt. Robert W. Powell, Jr. ’68

    died on January 4, 2020. His career in the Merchant Marine spanned over 34 years and took him all over the world, often for lengthy periods at sea, and involved serving on 23 different ships of various types and sizes, including supertankers. A lifelong learner, he pursued many and varied interests after retiring, including earning a bachelor’s degree in Human Foods and Nutrition from Washington State University.

  • Kenneth L. Hatch ’71

    died on November 7, 2019. Hatch shipped out with various companies completing with C.S.X. Lines Inc. He was a member of Master Mates and Pilots. Retiring from the Merchant Marine in 2002, he settled in Florida, summering in Maine. He graduated from the International Institute of Reflexology.

  • Gerald E. Garthwaite ’80

    died February 3, 2020 in Gorham. “Jerry” served in the U.S. Navy before attending MMA where he was an Honors Graduate. He worked at Gulf Oil Trading and Transportation Co., MEBA, and American Trading and Transportation Inc.

  • Peter C. Bartlett ’83

    died on December 8, 2019. Bartlett made his career in the energy business. He was an active parent and helped coach his children’s many teams. Bartlett enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and was known for his infectious laugh.

  • William Mottola

    died on April 1, 2020. He retired from MMA in 2004 after 37 years. Mottola was a driving force behind the development of MMA athletics and in the growth of the New England Football Conference. He was Head Football Coach, 1968-1979; Director of Athletics, 1979-2004, and Administrator of the Year in the Northeast in 1987. From 1971 to 2001, Mottola established and served as Director of Camp Touchdown, an instructional football camp on campus, serving hundreds of Maine athletes. He was Commissioner of the New England Football Conference from 1997-2004. In recognition of his 37 years of service to MMA as a coach and administrator, MMA established the William J. Mottola Mariner Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, and he was honored as its charter inductee. The following year he received the New England Football Writers Award for Contributions to New England Football, and in 2011, The All-American Football Foundation Award for his work as Commissioner of the New England Football Conference. Mottola served on the NCAA Division III football championship committee, including one year as its chair.

    He was an associate member of the MMA Alumni Association.

Submissions for Eight Bells

If you learn of the passing of an 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.

A complete listing of Eight Bells can be found at mainemaritime.edu/mariners-forever/category/eight-bells/.