Fundraising push is on for Down East memorial to honor lost fishermen

Posted Feb. 11, 2014, at 12:36 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 11, 2014, at 2:08 p.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Supporters of a memorial that would honor fishermen lost at sea plan to jumpstart what they hope may be the final leg of a fundraising campaign to build and erect the memorial.

The Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Association began raising funds in 2009. The organization is more than halfway to its goal, and it has approved the design of the memorial, which will be sculpted from black granite.

The association has raised about $66,000 so far, according to Shelly Tinker, president. It needs to raise about $35,000 more in order to have the memorial built. Bar Harbor Bank recently pledged a $10,000 donation if the association can raise another $25,000.

The memorial, to be erected in a park area on the waterfront directly across from the Mulholland Point Lighthouse on Campobello Island, will honor fishermen from Washington County and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, and elsewhere who have died in the waters of the Cobscook Bay region on both sides of the border.

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The association has collected 250 names so far, more than half of them fishermen from Washington County.

Nine fishermen have been lost at sea in the region since 2008, seven of them from Washington County communities.

Tinker’s neighbor, Loren Lank, was one of them. He drowned when a fishing boat he was piloting sank in Cobscook Bay in March 2009. “That was when I said, ‘ We’ve got to do something,'” Tinker, whose husband, Steven, is a fisherman, said in an interview recently. “We’ve got to let people know that we care.” Four other men aboard an urchin dragger died when their vessel sank in Cobscook Bay in October 2009.

The memorial will require 40 tons of black granite that will be sourced in 11 pieces from northern Quebec, said Jesse Salisbury of Steuben, who will sculpt the monument. The finished memorial will be about 9 feet tall, 21 feet long and 5 feet thick. It will take “under a year” to create the memorial, he said. The names of the fishermen would be added later.

Salisbury developed the design over about six months and presented the model to the association last spring. His work so far has been pro bono, he said.

If the association could complete its fundraising and get the granite for Salisbury by spring, he could place the work in the fall, noted Tinker.

After that, fundraising would continue in order to pay for having the names of fishermen added to the memorial.

Julie Keene and a few friends have organized what is being billed as the King Neptune’s Bridal Bash and Splash at 3 p.m. March 8, at Frank’s Dockside Restaurant. The $25 entry fee includes food and drink, and participating “brides” will crown one of themselves as queen. Women are asked to wear a wedding or other suitable gown, and donated gowns are being sought. A refreshing quick dip in the Lubec Narrows may be optional.

People who can’t make the event also are invited to make a donation. Checks should be made payable to the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Fund and mailed to Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Association, P.O. Box 194, Lubec, ME 04652. To donate online, visit

For information about the March fundraising event, call Keene at 733-2320 or visit the group’s Facebook page at


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