BANGOR – Molly K. Carney, Capt. Molly Kool, died Feb. 25, 2009, at a local health care facility. She was born Feb. 23, 1916, in Alma, New Brunswick, the daughter of Paul and Myrtle (Anderson) Kool. She was the second of five children. Capt. Molly Kool was the first female ship captain in North America and second in the world. She was known as “Queen of the Petit,” the Petticodiac River in New Brunswick. Molly followed in her father’s footsteps, he was a Dutch sailor who married and settled in the town of Alma, New Brunswick. His destiny became the lumber trade and he built a 70-foot scow named the Jean K after his eldest daughter. He made a living in the dangerous tides in the Bay of Fundy. Molly, from the time she was a small girl, lived on the scow with her Dad and had a love of the water. They used to say it took two men to cover her in the fall when she would go back to school. At the age of 23, Molly was instrumental in changing the bylaws in the Canadian Shipping Act so a female could get her captain’s license. She attended navigation school conducted by Capt. Richard Pollack and after completion of the exam she sent home a telegram to her sister, Jean, that read…”You can call me captain from now on!” Her story spread in the late ’30s and she appeared on an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not and was flown to New York. Molly was a woman of courage, endurance and tenacity. It was a hard life on the seas; the weather could be treacherous at times and Molly had many dangerous adventures on the seas. She was known to smell the weather and had an amazing natural ability on the sea. She came ashore in the ’40s and married a man from Bucksport, Ray Blaisdell in 1944. He passed away after 20 years together. She said she found it was nice to sleep in a real bed and enjoyed the comforts of living on shore and ended her career as a captain. She sold Singer Sewing Machines and worked as a publicity consultant for the Thomas D. Murphy Co., where she won numerous production awards. She met and married a businessman in the mid-’60s named John Carney. He bought her a large boat and named it the Molly Kool and they enjoyed many adventures on the boat. Molly had a huge love for animals and had a boxer and a standard poodle. She also had a special cat named Zeb. Her captain’s license is a statue behind Parkland Village Inn in her hometown of Alma, New Brunswick. She went back many times throughout the past years and was grand marshall of the parade and enjoyed staying at the Cliffside where she could look down over all of Alma, New Brunswick. Molly had a vascular disease that took one leg in 1998 but that never stopped her. She lost her second leg in 2004 and was told she would not be able to go home. She said to the doctor, “watch me” and she went home and lived independently at Sunbury Village, Bangor, where she did amazingly well with the love and support of Andra Medina and her Sunbury family. Molly was predeceased by two sisters, Jean and Mary; and a brother, John. Her sister, Martha, lives in California. She has many nephews and nieces; one special one named Irene, that Molly called Teeney. Molly will be sadly missed by many friends, but especially by Kathy Crowl, Bonnie Whitney and Jonni-Anne Carlisle. There will be a memorial service 2 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Sunbury Village, 922 Ohio St., Bangor, with the Rev. Robert T. Carlson officiating. Molly’s childhood home in Alma, New Brunswick, is being moved and turned into a museum in Fundy National Park, Alma, New Brunswick. Donations may be made in Molly’s honor to help fund this wonderful project. To help fund the “Molly Kool Cottage” send donations to Albert County Heritage Trust, 5985 King St., Riverside-Albert, NB Canada E4H 2M9. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held in July in her hometown of Alma, New Brunswick. Arrangements by Memorial Alternatives, 205 Center St., Bangor.
MOLLY K. CARNEY
Posted Feb. 27, 2009, at 9:10 p.m.