Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame names Class of 2013

Five to be honored Oct. 12 include War of 1812 hero
September 27, 2013
Hazel Brittingham SOURCE SUBMITTED

The Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame is inducting five people who have given uniquely and generously their skill, energy, heart, and time in building Delaware’s maritime heritage.

The Class of 2013 - Hazel Brittingham, John Gallagher, Paul Ives, Malcolm Mackenzie, and Suzanne Thurman - will join 30 others who have been honored beginning with the first class in 2007. The Meritorious Service Award goes to Capt. Jacob Nicholas Jones, a national naval hero who fought in the War of 1812.

The Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation oversees the annual inductee selection process and sponsors the banquet and induction ceremony, which is held at the Lewes Yacht Club.

The event is 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct., 12. Tickets are $75 per person, and reservations must be made online by going to

Mailed and telephone reservations will not be accepted.

Visit the website for additional information about the Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame and nonprofit Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation, or contact Denise Seliskar at 302-542-6797.

Hazel Brittingham is the ‘go to’ person in Lewes for those looking for information about property, genealogy and Delaware’s maritime history, especially in Sussex County. Hazel’s years of leadership in historic research and documentation will endure and future generations will benefit from her efforts.

Hazel’s 1998 book, "Lantern on Lewes: Where the Past is Present," captures many true historic Lewes stories. Her articles about the maritime history of Delaware Bay include The Delaware Bay Breakwaters, and The Fort Was Named Miles.

In addition to historic preservation, Hazel has always shared her love of history through presentations to service organizations, women’s clubs, and school classes. In 2002, the Lewes Historical Society awarded her its Dr. James E. Marvil Lifetime Service Award for more than 20 years of service to the society and its mission of historic preservation. Hazel was instrumental in gaining recognition of the unknown sailors’ cemetery with the placement of a historic marker at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal.

Mike DiPaolo, Lewes Historical Society executive director, said, “The society couldn’t do its job without Hazel. Her generosity in sitting down with me or a researcher, writing articles, or graciously donating her collections to the society make Hazel’s accomplishments all the more impressive. In short, it is her service of selflessness that makes her so remarkable.”

John L. ‘Jack’ Gallagher started his doctoral research at University of Delaware in 1968. A UD professor of marine biosciences for 32 years, he is currently professor emeritus. Jack continues to pursue his passion for understanding how salt marsh ecosystems function.

To sustain salt marshes and their vital estuarine food web functions in the face of human activity and sea level rise, he has identified plant selections that accelerate restored and created wetland development.

In more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, Jack, with his students and colleagues, published discoveries spanning from the molecular level through ecosystems.

Before coming to Delaware, Jack headed research at the University of Georgia and U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, Oregon Lab involving above- and belowground production, decomposition processes, mineral/metal/nutrient transport, and ecosystem modeling. At UD, his research in the extensive underground systems of phragmites found the optimal time to apply control measures on the invasive plant. Jack and his colleagues revealed the genetic variation within the dominant grass, spartina alterniflora, also known as cordgrass, and determined the impact of the genetic makeup of the grass.

Jack holds a concurrent professorship at Nanjing University in China for his collaborative research on salt marsh plants. He is leading the development of salt marsh plants for sustainable agriculture in lands salted by tidal flooding surrounding Delaware Bay and elsewhere. Jack is being inducted into the Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame for his innovative research on marshes of the Delaware coast and beyond.

Capt. Paul Ives of Lewes was a licensed pilot for the Delaware River and Bay and Chesapeake and Delaware canal. As a child, Paul developed an interest in radio and electricity. He apprenticed as a pilot in 1951 and served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the Korean War. During this time he became a ham, or amateur radio operator.

Upon Paul’s return to the pilots, he noticed the lack of ship-to-ship communications. His combination of skills placed him at a critical juncture in maritime safety and communications. He worked tirelessly for the pilots and ports on the Delaware River for early implementation of communication between vessels using VHF single-channel radios. The radio system ensures that all ships and pilots are in constant communication, improving safety and reducing collisions.

Paul was appointed to the Joint Executive Committee for the Improvement and Development of the Philadelphia Port Area. There, he worked to overcome hurdles to the implementation of the system. He traveled around the country giving presentations to spur adoption of the single-channel system as an industry standard. He was appointed to the executive Committee for the Radio Technical Commission for Marine Services and worked with myriad other marine safety and communications organizations.

Paul has received numerous commendations for his work, including being named the Ports of Philadelphia Man of the Year in 1992. His efforts directly led to the adoption of the single-channel system now in use. The radios have saved countless lives that might otherwise have been lost due to collisions on the river and bay.

Malcolm Mackenzie was born in Texas Jan. 19, 1926. His lifelong love of the sea began after a trip to South Africa. Following graduation from Maine Maritime Academy, Malcolm served in the Merchant Marine, and later graduated from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design

He began a marketing firm that often focused on environmental issues. When hired to conduct a comprehensive study of Delaware’s shoreline (Delaware Shoreline 2020) that included how to improve it and the development of creative ideas to make it a tourist attraction, Malcolm stressed the tourist potential for the Wilmington waterfront. As a result, empty warehouses were replaced by viable businesses. The half-sunken Wilson Liner was replaced by a replica of the Kalmar Nyckel, one of two ships that brought early settlers to Wilmington in 1638. Today, the Kalmar Nyckel travels as Delaware’s Tall Ship and ambassador throughout the Atlantic Coastal Region.

In November 2000, Mackenzie died in his Wilmington home at age 74.

Suzanne Thurman founded the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute Inc. in 2000 in response to stranding of marine mammals and sea turtles; some of them were ill, injured, or dead. The program has a rescue facility to provide veterinary treatment. Suzanne and her volunteers conduct research on animals that have died.

As MERR’s executive director, Suzanne leads more than 100 dedicated volunteers. She is known for her tireless efforts, resourcefulness, tenacity, patience, and willingness to take time to explain and educate. MERR provides education and outreach programs reaching more than 10,000 people a year. She also mentors high school and college students, providing internship opportunities and guidance as they pursue careers in marine conservation.

Suzanne communicates effectively with beach officials, business owners, and government officials who might be impacted by a stranded animal. She serves as an advocate and activist for ocean health issues, and frequently provides comments to local, state and federal officials regarding issues that impact the health and welfare of the oceans and marine life, such as seismic testing, outfall pipes, and dredging.

MERR fills a void for the state of Delaware by addressing emergency response and providing educational awareness of marine animals. Suzanne’s work complements that done by the state. Without MERR, immediate response would not be possible because of funding restrictions. Suzanne Thurman saw a need and through her own efforts created a highly respected organization, using volunteers and contributing a much-needed service in Delaware.

Capt. Jacob Nicholas Jones, national hero of the War of 1812, played a critical role in assuring the nation’s independence and territorial integrity. As master commandant on the sloop of war USS Wasp, he brilliantly defeated the British war sloop HMS Frolic. By proving the idea the British did not have supremacy at sea, Jones’s victory along with four others boosted American morale and sustained the public’s commitment to the war. Subsequently, Jones commanded ships on Lake Ontario and was instrumental in giving the U.S. control of the lake. It was the U.S. Navy’s control of lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain that paved the way for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war.

Born on a farm near Smyrna in 1768, Jones lived in Lewes from 1772-84. He developed his love of the sea as a young man in Lewes during the Revolutionary War. Prior to his appointment as midshipman in the U.S. Navy in 1799, Jones served the community as a doctor, practicing in Dover, and as a clerk of the Delaware Supreme Court. After the war, Jones continued to serve in the Navy until his death in 1850.

After the war, U.S. Congress awarded Jones a gold medal and $25,000. He received honors from the cities of New York and Philadelphia, and the state of Delaware. His commissioned portrait hung in the Old State House. In his honor, three naval destroyers were named for him in World Wars I and II. As Gov. Clayton said, “The love of country was his ruling passion.”

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