Capt. Benson A. Bowditch, Jr. ’64

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 wife of 45 years, Catherine Sue Bowditch and children; Laurie Bowditch Rosa of Portsmouth, NH, Karron Michelle Senseney pre-deceased, Scott Anderson Bowditch of Honolulu, HI, Roben Bowditch Lepore and husband Joseph Lepore of Sugarland, TX, Catherine Elise Bowditch of Houston, TX. Brother Col. Thomas Bowditch and wife Shari, sister Gail Bowditch, sister Judy Bowditch Walker and husband Tom. Grandchildren: Brytani Pearson, Derak Russell, Austin Rosa, Julia Rosa, Anthony Rosa, Ben Le-pore, and great granddaughter Karron Russell (pre-deceased). Loving nieces and nephew: Noelle, Sam, Jean and Kristen.

A 1964 graduate of Maine Maritime Academy Ben began a career with the Lykes Steamship Company lasting 42 years. As a First Mate with the MSTS during the Vietnam War he braved enemy fire to carry military cargo to shore. Ben quickly worked his way to the position of captain. He later came state side serving as Port Captain for the ports of Houston and New Orleans and Manager of Marine Division in New Orleans and then on to become the Compliance Manager in Tampa. Ben’s leadership and merchant expertise, known worldwide, was a guiding force for many organizations. He was honored to serve as a member of the Council of American Master Mariners, Executive Committee member to VOHMA, the Board of Governors for the Maritime Security Council, member Navigation Safety Advisory Council and appointed to the US Government Department of Transportation’s Navigation Safety Advisory Council. Ben was also a member of Propeller Club of America.

Volunteer service was a passionate commitment. As a dedicated volunteer paramedic and fire fighter, Ben served his communities in Texas and Louisiana. He was credited for saving many lives. The water was his life blood. Ben looked forward to regatta days racing his 26′ McGregor on Lake Pontchartrain, Galveston Bay and Tampa Bay. Commodore of the Bahia Beach Yacht Club in Ruskin, FL. His strength was unmatched as he remained a fierce competitor into his late 60s competing in long distance (50+ mi) kayak races. As the Captain and President of the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Club Ben helped lead his crew to numerous victories.

In 2009 Captain Bowditch retired to the serene lake and woods of Sebago, Maine, his ancestral property since the 19th century. Ben continued his commitment to community service joining the Sebago Lions Club and serving as President for three years. In 2015 he was honored with the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for dedicated humanitarian services from the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Settling back in Sebago, gave Ben an opportunity to further his volunteer work as school board member for the town of Sebago, a position his mother, Gail Bowditch also held. The Portland Marine Society welcomed Ben into the membership of professional seaman. Here he served as President for two years. An avid reader, Ben extended his love of books to helping at the town library.

Ben was a consummate gentleman and a gentle man. A full kind heart, he cared for his family, friends and community. His integrity, quiet wisdom and ability to see the core of any problem were unmatched. Respected and admired by all; his strong presence was a guiding light. Always the captain he did not need words to be understood.

To honor his memory, a Celebration of Life will be planned this summer. Donations in his memory can be made to the Maine Maritime Academy Scholarship Fund in Castine, Maine.

Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, 8 Elm Street, Bridgton.