Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Tragedy at Deer Island Light - 100 Years Ago

Early postcard of Deer Island Light
Joseph McCabe arrived as assistant keeper of Deer Island Light in Boston Harbor in June 1908. He made the pages of the Boston Globe in March 1913, when he purchased a piano and had it delivered to the lighthouse to "break the monotony of the lonely life in the isolated tower." Less than three years later, McCabe, who rented a room in East Boston when he wasn't at the lighthouse, became engaged to Gertrude Walter, a resident of that community. The couple planned a wedding on Easter Sunday, but it wasn't to be.
On Saturday, February 19, 1916, McCabe left the lighthouse to meet his fiancée on Deer Island, where they wrote out wedding invitations together. When he was ready to return, McCabe found that ice around the island had trapped his boat.
Wesley Pingree
He decided to borrow a pair of rubber boots and walk across the spit to the lighthouse. He was followed by his friend, Wesley Pingree, a former keeper who was by then an employee of the pumping station on Deer Island, and Pingree's 15-year-old son, Philip. As he jumped forward to make it past a gap in the spit, McCabe lost his footing and disappeared into the turbulent waters of the harbor. Employees from Deer Island rushed to the scene in a dory, but it was too late. The body of Joseph McCabe, who was 28 years old, was never recovered.
The lighthouse was replaced by a fiberglass tower in 1982. In late 2014, it was announced that the fiberglass tower and the foundation of the 1890 lighthouse would be removed, and a new pile-supported platform and light would be erected in their place.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Phil Karwowski, "Keeper" of Hospital Point Light

I'm very sad to report that Phil Karwowski, an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary who was the volunteer keeper of Hospital Point Light in Beverly, Massachusetts, has died at 69. I worked with Phil many times over the years and found him to be a true gentleman with a passion for lighthouses. Here is his obituary in the Salem Evening News:

BEVERLY: Philip Henry Karwowski, 69, beloved husband of Deanna (Bourke) Karwowski, died Friday, February 5, 2016 at home surrounded by his loving family. 

Born and raised in Lynn, he was the son of the late Thaddeus and Blanche (Pryce) Karwowski. He graduated from Lynn Classical High School, Class of 1964 and continued his education, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Northeastern University. In 1966 he met Deanna and married in 1970. They lived in Virginia early on in Phil's Navy career. They returned to the New England area in 1974 and have lived in Beverly ever since. They loved to travel along the coastal area visiting other Lighthouses from Maine to Florida. They also loved cruising with friends to the Caribbean. 

An honorably discharged veteran, he served his country during the Vietnam War as a member of the United States Navy. He served 4 years active duty and 26 years in the Naval Reserves. In 1999 Phil retired as a Master Chief. Phil also was active in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary for the past 12 years.Phil was employed at Stone and Webster Engineering in Boston for over 20 years. He also worked for the Federal Government at the DCMA office in Boston until his retirement in 2012.

A longtime resident of the City of Beverly, he was a member and past Commodore of the Bass Haven Yacht Club in Beverly where he also served on the Board of Directors. He also served on the Board of Directors at the Salem Willow's Yacht Club in Salem. Phil and the USCG Auxiliary have decorated Hospital Point Light for the holidays each year. 

Mr. Karwowski had a passion for lighthouses. As a member of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, he put this passion into action, by working tirelessly with U.S. Coast Guard, Gold Side, to allow tours be given at the Beverly’s Hospital Point Light house to various
Hospital Point Lighthouse in Beverly
groupsand lighthouse enthusiasts. He enjoyed educating the public about the role of this Lighthouse in Beverly’s Maritime history. He was executive director of the “New England Lights”, a documentary film production service. He directed films about Hospital Point Lighthouse as well as other lighthouses along the Northeast Coastline. He received awards for these productions. You can view these films via BevCam Channel 8. 

In addition to his wife, with whom he shared 46 years of marriage, he is survived by two brothers, Theodore Karr and his wife, Maureen of Ipswich and John Karwowski and his wife, Maureen of Swampscott; two nieces, Mae and Claire Karwowski; three nephews, Matthew Karr and his wife, Annette, Joseph Karr and David Karr.They family would like to send their gratitude to Lahey Burlington and Lahey Peabody. 

A special thank you to Susan Bowers, Jesse Brodbeck, Barbara Petricone and all the ladies in Oncology. A special thank you to Patrick, Beatrice, Allison and the staff at Care Dimensions. 

Funeral services will be held at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. Burial in the Central Cemetery, Beverly. Contributions may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701 or the Ronald McDonald House, 229 Kent St., Brookline, MA 02446. Information, directions, condolences

Friday, February 5, 2016

World Cancer Lighthouse Project Launched

A World Cancer Day Launch Project 

Today, The Hope Light Foundation launched the World "Beacons of Hope" project to unite lighthouses throughout the world to work together in the fight against cancer. 

The Hope Light Foundation is a 50(c)(3) nonprofit public charity dedicated to the fight against cancer. 

"We feel that launching the World "Beacons of Hope" project today was very appropriate since it is World Cancer Day that promotes uniting the worlds population to get involved in the fight against cancer by raising awareness", said Rudy Bess, Co-Founder of The Hope Light Foundation.  The Foundation "Beacons of Hope" project launch is listed as an activity on the World Cancer Day's website Map of Impact.  

As "Beacons of Hope", participating lighthouses will stand united with other world lighthouses to navigate people to life-saving cancer awareness information, promote early detection and become beacons of hope for cancer patient survivorship and cures for all cancers.  With early cancer detection and treatment, patients have a better chance for survival and a better chance for a cure.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this year, 8.2 million people will die from cancer throughout the world with 14 million new cases being diagnosed.  Within the next two decades, worldwide new cancer cases will increase to 22 million and if left unchecked, cancer deaths will rise to more than 13 million.  This year, in the United States alone, over 573,000 people will die from cancer with over 1.5 million new cases being diagnosed.  

Metropolis Lighthouse in Illinois
"For over 2000 years, lighthouses have been used to navigate ships through dark stormy seas with hope for survival by finding a safe harbor", Bess said.  "This is similar to a cancer patients dark journey into the unknown with hope for surviving this deadly disease.  This is why we are calling upon lighthouses throughout the world to help fight cancer". 

The Hope Light Foundation built the Metropolis Lighthouse aka "Hope Light" in Metropolis, Illinois on the bank of the Ohio River as a means to increase cancer awareness and as a symbol of hope for surviving cancer.  This is the worlds first lighthouse that was designed, built and dedicated to the fight against cancer. Lighthouses throughout the world will have the opportunity to join the Metropolis Lighthouse in fighting cancer by helping raise cancer awareness and save lives.

Bess and his wife Beverly are co-founders of The Hope Light Foundation.  They have visited over 450 lighthouses in the United States and Canada and have gained appreciation for their history and lore. 

"Many people look upon lighthouses as sources of strength and inspiration which has made them popular travel destinations", Bess said.  "I feel the Beacons of Hope project will increase the general public's interest in visiting participating lighthouses while increasing their interest in learning how to detect cancer early and save lives.  As implied by the World Cancer Day's theme, We Can work together to increase cancer awareness and decrease preventable deaths throughout the world."        

To find out how to become a "Beacon of Hope" lighthouse and the features and benefits of participating in the project, lighthouse representatives are asked to visit The Hope Light Foundation's website at