D/Lt Donald E. Baker, JN

Don Baker sailing

Don Baker sailing

Donald E. Baker passed away on 9 December 2012. He was born on 16 December 1931 in St. Louis, Mo. After serving in the U.S. Army in Japan during the Korean War, Don returned to his home town. He took a job as an usher for Loews Theaters and worked his way up to Vice President of Marketing in New York City until his retirement in 1990. He and his wife Theresa had three children.

Boating was Don’s passion, and he was happiest while plying the waters of Barnegat Bay aboard his 34-foot sailboat Integrity with family and friends. The name he gave his boat also signified the way he lived his life.

Don joined Raritan Bay Power Squadron in 1973. He served as commander, taught courses, and chaired the membership, public relations, and USPS seminars committees. He was District 4’s boating course chair and legislative chair for New Jersey. At the national level, Don served on the Boat Handling and the Government and Partner Relations committees. He also helped develop the new USPS Sail course and authored countless articles in The Ensign. Don was a life member and earned 39 merit marks. A modest man, he believed he was only doing what needed to be done.

Despite his many contributions to USPS, whenever someone needed help, Don was happy to give it. And no matter how busy he was, he always made time for friends and family, and for sailing his beloved boat. Fair winds, Don!

Lt/C Fred G. Roffe, SN

Fred Roffe

Fred Roffe

Fred G. Roffe passed away on 29 December 2012. A graduate of Georgia Tech, he worked as an engineer for Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, N.Y., for 35 years, and enjoyed spending summers in Hampton Bays. He and his wife Fran had two children.

In 1969, Fred joined the Neptune Power Squadron. He later became a member of the Peconic Bay Power Squadron, where he served as squadron education officer. His love for boats and for helping everyone learn about safety on the water was evident in the advanced classes he taught in piloting, navigation, marine electronics and cruise planning. Students particularly enjoyed his teaching aids, which included animated power point slides Fred created. He could explain complex concepts so anyone could understand them. For his expertise and dedication, Fred won the 2008 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was a life member and earned 32 merit marks.

P/C Hal A. Hartvigsen, P


Hal Hartvigsen

Hal A. Hartvigsen passed away 1 January 2013. He was born 29 September 1926, and served in the armed forces during World War II in the Manhattan District Project. A journalism graduate of the University of Iowa, Hal had a long career in public relations and ultimately ran his own consulting firm, Hal Hart Communications. He and his wife Nan had two sons. Hal authored several books under the pseudonym Hal Hart. His memoir, The Road to Madison Avenue, was published in 2012.

In 1975, Hal joined the Darien Sail & Power Squadron, where he served as commander. He was a district public relations officer and a USPS Life Member. While Hal lived in Florida, he was a member of the Gulf Breeze Sail & Power Squadron. He will be missed by many friends.

P/Lt/C Robert A. Werner, JN

Robert Werner

Robert A. Werner passed away 5 August 2012. He was born 1 July 1922, and joined the Cincinnati Sail & Power Squadron in 1976. A faithful member, he served as treasurer and also acted as supply officer. He often manned the squadron booth at boat shows, and could always be counted on to grade exams. In 2009, he became a USPS Life Member. Bob achieved the grade of Junior Navigator. He earned 27 merit marks.

His beloved wife, Beverly, preceded him in death. They had three children and seven grandchildren.

P/R/C Frank J. Thompson, SN

Frank J. Thompson passed away 18 Jan. 2012. Born 2 Feb. 1932, Thompson joined Penfield Power Squadron in 1967. A squadron and District 2 past commander, Thompson also served on the USPS Nominations Committee and as national law officer. For many years, he served as district parliamentarian and a member of its Committee on Rules.

After graduating from Loyola University in 1954 with an electrical engineering degree, Thompson served in the U.S. Air Force. He attended Georgetown University Law School in the evenings while working at General Electric. After graduation, he became a patent attorney for RCA, GE and Sylvania.

In 1975 Thompson established a private intellectual property law practice, where he helped numerous entrepreneurs get their start before he retired in 2002. He received many certificates of appreciation for his volunteer work in law.

Thompson and his wife, Mary Ellen, had five children and lived in Fairfield, Conn. They had traveled much of Europe and were fluent in Italian. They also enjoyed taking their 20-foot Grady-White to Shelter Island, where they often helped local sailors in distress.

P/C/C Harold “Hal” E. Spoelstra, SN


28 Dec. 1917-6 April 2012

Harold E. “Hal” Spoelstra joined Portland Power Squadron in 1950 and taught Piloting for more than 20 years. He served as squadron commander and D/16 educational officer and commander. As national chairman of the Marine Electronics and Piloting committees, he wrote and contributed to boating courses still used today. Elected to the national Bridge in 1974, he served as chief commander from 1978–1979. An Emeritus Member, he earned 59 merit marks.

After graduating from the Oregon Institute of Technology with an electrical engineering degree, Spoelstra worked as a transmitter engineer for radio station KOIN in Portland, Ore., for seven years. He administered the Portland Regional Blood Bank for four years and operated his own marine electronics business, Columbia Marine Electronics on the Columbia River, for 21 years. He then traveled to Montana, developing shopping centers through the state, later returning to Portland to found and operate Northwest Yacht Brokers until his retirement.

Spoelstra and his wife, Marge, had three daughters and a son. The couple and their daughters performed locally and abroad with Bruce Kelly’s New Oregon Singers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Passionate about water safety, Spoelstra was past president of Columbia River Yachting Association, past commodore of Rose City Yacht Club, and a Red Cross instructor in First Aid, Water Safety and Small Craft. For his volunteer service to USPS and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, he received permanent life membership in both organizations.

After retiring, Spoelstra created a presentation about the navigation of ancient mariners called “Ships of Discovery,” which he brought to elementary classrooms throughout the Portland area. He taught community education classes in basic boating and celestial navigation, and he was a trainer and state administrative assistant of 55-Alive safe driving courses for many years.

His lifelong efforts on behalf of boating safety earned him the Oregon Governor’s Award for Boating Safety, the Senator John J. Hollister Memorial Award for Boating Safety, two Olin Marine Safety Awards, and the Red Cross Meritorious Service Award for 25 years of service.

Spoelstra’s achievements are all the more noteworthy since contracting polio at age 7 left him with a permanently paralyzed right leg. Despite his disability, he became a champion swimmer and an offshore sailor with more than 20,000 cruising miles in all types of small craft.

Ronald J. Rainey

Ron Rainey

Ronald J. Rainey

Ronald J. Rainey, 70, of Marion, Ohio, passed away 26 April 2012 at Marion General Hospital. Rainey was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 30 Nov. 1941 to Joseph and Mary Rainey. He graduated from North Royalton High School in 1960 and Kent State University in 1965, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education.

Rainey’s position with GTE brought him, wife Janet and their family to Marion from Erie, Penn., in 1980. Heretired from GTE in 1996 after a 27-year career as manager of buildings, fleet and energy. He went on to serve as area director for the Marion Cancer Society and led the office to national accolades with the annual Cancer Stereothon fundraiser.

Sailing on Lake Erie was a lifelong passion for Rainey. He skippered five boats to Boat of the Year in the Erie MORC fleet in Erie, Penn., and served one term as commander of the Marion Sail & Power Squadron. He and his family spent their summers sailing in Sandusky Bay.

Rainey is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Janet; daughter Jill L. (and husband Ken) Walls of Sunbury; son Jeffrey R. (and wife Jill) Rainey of Marion; granddaughter Abigail Janet Walls of Sunbury; and many cousins and friends. Ron was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother Dennis Rainey.

Father Wilfred M. Dumm, SN, OSB

Born 30 June 1920, Father Wilfred M. Dumm, OSB, passed away 23 Sept. 2011.

Father Dumm was a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, who joined Tybee Light Power Squadron in 1968, a year after being assigned to the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Ga. At the school, Father Dumm taught physics, math and electronics; held leadership positions in the Benedictine Priory; and served as the school’s alumni director after his retirement.

In 1986, Father Dumm began his tenure as USPS national chaplain, a position he held until January 2002. He also served as District 26 chaplain and Tybee Light chaplain. Father Dumm’s poetic prayers were published in The Ensign magazine for many years, and many squadrons use his book A Beacon of Prayer for benedictions and invocations.

A Mariner’s Prayer
(Written by Father Wilfred M. Dumm)

Astride the rolling deck of life,
We find our posture, one of prayer.
The past elicits words of thanks;
The future begs a Father’s care.

We chart our course on life’s great sea,
Help hold our craft on even keel.
Though storms o’ertake us on the way,
Let us not falter at the wheel.

Grant peace to those who’ve crossed the bar
And hope to all who struggle still.
They always serve Your purpose best,
Who mold their way to Thine own Will.

William W. Stephenson II

Bill Stephenson

William W. Stephenson II

Bill Stephenson passed away on 13 Sept. 2011. He was born 22 Jan., 1940, in New York City and lived on Long Island for most of his life. He moved to Florida in 1991 and lived in Ft. Pierce for the last 13 years.

He was a retired nuclear power engineer. He served in the Navy for 16 years, including four years in the Naval Academy. He was a lieutenant in the Navy, having served on both the USS Dace and USS Nautilus submarines.

After retiring, he made his way back to water and had recently purchased a boat. He was a member of the Vero Beach Power Squadron, the Vero Beach Yacht Club and the St. Lucie Sheriff’s Volunteer Auxillary. One of his favorite activities was teaching young children to sail through the Vero Beach Youth Sailing Foundation.

Bill is survived by son Matthew W. Stephenson and daughter-in-law Kristen P. Stephenson of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; daughter April S. Toms and son-in-law Brian A. Toms of Dunwoody, Ga.; and four grandchildren who fondly called him his favorite name, “Grandpa Willie.”

He was a dedicated father, grandfather and friend. He will be missed terribly and remembered fondly by all who knew him.

Elmer Harris Williamson Jr., JN

On 15 August 2011, Lake Murray Power Squadron lost long-time member Elmer Harris Williamson Jr.

Born in Hendersonville, N.C., on 20 Sept. 1925, he was a son of the late Elmer Harris Williamson Sr. and Hannah Johnson Williamson. He served in the U. S. Army during World War II. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, he was a civil engineer at B.P. Barber & Associates until his retirement in 1987. He was a member and one-time president of the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers.

In 1969, he joined Lake Murray Power Squadron. During his 44 years of membership, he served as commander, attained the grade of Junior Navigator and became a Life Member, earning 27 merit marks. He was also a member of Lake Murray Boating and Sports Club and Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church.

Elmer H. Williamson Jr. is survived by his son, Rusty Williamson and his wife Robin; daughters Gloria Addy and her husband Wayne, Terri Bellika and her husband David, Sandy Andrews, and Cathy Brewer and her husband Harry; stepdaughters Pat Pyle and Jan Collins; grandchildren Stacey Grooms, Scott Addy, Jason Brewer, Melanie Brewer, Jason Andrews, Jesse Andrews, Dwane Bellika and Dustin Williamson; step-grandchildren Heidi Goff, Christopher Pyle and Marshall Pyle; eight great-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife Margaret C. Williamson, his second wife Gloria P. Williamson and his brother Curtis D. Williamson.

P/C David B. Herndon, N

David Herndon

P/C David B. Herndon, N

The Atlanta (GA) Squadron lost a member who was a mainstay of their organization: P/C David B. Herndon, N, died from complications related to a pulmonary embolism 15 June 2011 while participating in the squadron’s annual week-long Intracoastal Waterway Cruise.

Herndon joined the Squadron in 2002. In that short time, he was editor of the Atlanta Squadron newsletter “Waterlog” for seven years, winning the Excellence In Journalism Award each year. He served as the squadron’s secretary, administrative officer, executive officer and commander in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Upon completion of the USPS Weather course, Herndon pursued his education further, completing Piloting, Advanced Piloting, Junior Navigation and Navigation (this past spring), as well as Cruise Planning and Marine Electronics, thus earning the Education Proficiency designation. During this time, he assisted in teaching Advanced Piloting, BoatSmart and various seminars and had taken over teaching the Weather course. He recently gave a class to young people on the subject of boating safety.

He was always available to tutor those who needed a little boost with their studies — anywhere, anytime. In addition, he was on the rules committee and the bridge nominating committee and was instrumental in establishing and implementing a marketing plan for the squadron. He submitted several articles and photographs to THE ENSIGN.

Herndon loved playing the guitar, writing his own boating songs and being on the water. To that end, he planned several of the squadron’s ICW Cruises, including the one on which he crossed the bar.



After a 40-year career with ATT and ATT umbrella companies, Herndon, who had recently celebrated his 62nd birthday, was scheduled to retire in August.

He leaves behind his mother, brother, sister, two daughters, assorted relatives and in-laws and his wife, Cdr. Lisa Parsons Herndon. Herndon’s can-do attitude and ever present smile will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

P/D/C Raymond O. Anderson, JN

Ray Anderson

P/D/C Raymond O. Anderson, JN

It sunk in that my grandfather, Ray Anderson, was seriously ill when I visited him for the Easter holiday this year. The stories were fewer and shorter; he was often tired and resigned. His battle with cancer had intensified over most of the past year, and I was grateful for the time spent with him.

When I moved to Washington, D.C., this summer for an internship, my grandfather and his health were on my mind. My internship required that I often browse Congress members’ websites. During a web search one day, I discovered that the American flag is flown over the U.S. Capitol building in honor of special American citizens.  I immediately thought of my Grandpa Ray, who was a proud World War II veteran and served in the U.S. Army. He had been wounded while fighting in Alsace-Lorraine in 1945.  Especially in his ill health, I knew that this honor would mean the world to him.

Excited about this opportunity, I wrote a letter of request on my grandfather’s behalf and mailed it to Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office, the representative for where my grandparents lived in northwestern Pennsylvania. The next week I got a phone call from Nancy Billet, the office manager for Rep. Thompson. Ms. Billet believed my grandfather was worthy of this honor, and she suggested he be honored by flying his flag on the most distinguished day: the 4th of July.

I enthusiastically agreed to her suggestion, knowing it was a day that many people requested and one that would appropriately celebrate my grandfather’s life. After the flag was flown, it would then be sent to my grandparents to commemorate the honor.

Unfortunately, I would never be able to give my grandfather his flag. He passed away quietly 3 July, 2011 with his wife of more than 60 years at his side. But I was determined; if Grandpa would never see this flag, it would at least be present at his funeral 7 July to display thanks for his life of service to our nation.

I contacted Ms. Billet again, this time with a much more somber request. Ms. Billet promised that, although processing of the flags usually takes five days or more, she would see if she could get the flag to me sooner. After making numerous phone calls, Ms. Billet reported back to me that the office that handled the flags agreed to release Grandpa’s flag that very day. I rushed to the flag office, picked up Grandpa Ray’s beautiful flag and plaque describing his honor and quickly packed and departed for his funeral.

Words cannot explain my father’s and my grandmother’s reactions when I presented them with the flag and plaque at my grandfather’s viewing.  The plaque was displayed next to his casket and passed around to family and friends, and my grandfather was recognized as the incredible American and distinguished veteran that he was.

Surrounded by numerous family and friends from all across the country, my grandfather received a beautiful military funeral complete with an honor guard and two Army soldiers who were present to honor his life and memory. While preparing the funeral, my family was amazed to discover that my grandfather had received several military accolades of which he had never spoken to anyone, including a Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, a European-African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, a Combat Infantryman Badge, an American Theater Ribbon, a Victory Ribbon and a Good Conduct Medal. Grandpa Ray was a great man and a hero of our nation — and a humble one at that.

I can’t thank Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office enough, especially Ms. Billet, for the care they took in honoring my grandfather. It may seem like a small honor, but to a grieving family, it meant everything. As my dad said during Grandpa’s eulogy, “Please, don’t forget my dad,” and, please, don’t forget any of the veterans who have served, been wounded and have died for our nation. Honor them as my Grandpa Ray has been honored, and, if it means half as much to any family of a veteran as it did to mine, it will be well worth it.

May my Grandpa Ray rest in peace. He will not be forgotten.

This article was written by Ray Anderson’s granddaughter, Jessica Reed, and submitted by Anderson’s fellow squadron member, David Hollingshead. Anderson was a member of the Kinzua Power Squadron and had 27 merit marks.