In Memory

James Acheson

P/R/C James C. Acheson, SN, of Port Huron (Mich.) Squadron/9 has passed away at age 86.

Commander Acheson joined Lackawanna Squadron (D/4) in 1963 after serving in the U.S. Army Finance Corps and was a USPS member for 61 years, earning a merit mark every year of his membership. He attained a full certificate in 1975 and was declared a member emeritus of the Governing Board in 2012.

Acheson was commander of Port Huron Squadron (D/9) in 1973 and commander of District 9 in 1978. Over the period of his membership he was chairman of four national committees—Flag & Etiquette (1981-83), Operations Manual (1995-98), Rules (2005) and ad hoc Forms Management (1984-86). Most recently he had been an Area Monitor since 2012.

Cdr Acheson joined USPS with Lackawanna Squadron in 1963 while working in New Jersey after returning from U.S. Army service in Germany. He returned to his hometown in 1967, where he began teaching Boating (now ABC3) and other USPS courses. He substantially modified the costal-oriented boating course to teach Great Lakes students charting as presented on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Survey Great Lakes charts, before NOAA absorbed that agency.

Acheson attended Culver Military Academy and the University of Michigan. He retired from business in 1998 after leading his family’s hundred-year-old global specialty chemicals enterprise. In his later years, he focused on philanthropy and community development in his hometown. He was noted for his varied maritime interests, including the acquisition of the decommissioned Huron Lightship for the city of Port Huron and the development of a Great Lakes Maritime Center in that community. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2002 for his philanthropic contributions.

He had been commodore of the 3,000-member Great Lakes Cruising Club and protocol officer for the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. He had also been a member of the New York Yacht Club for 43 years. His classic 1979 57-foot motor yacht Lady J carried him over 67,000 miles throughout the Great Lakes, the Canadian Maritimes, the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, the Bahamas, and Cuba.

Cdr Acheson held a 150-tone Coast Guard master’s license and was a two-term member of the Coast Guard’s Rules of the Road Advisory Council (later BSAC). He was president of local Lodge #2 of the International Ship Master’s Association in 1988-89.

He is survived by his wife Susan Nelson Acheson, his three adult children, Larry, Joe, and Dan, and his six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an infant son.