Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know, until about ten years ago, that the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald happened in 1975. I never listened closely enough to the lyrics to pick up the modern day references and, for some reason, had always thought the wreck occurred decades earlier.

I was watching a documentary about the recovery of the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald and was shocked to see the surviving family members at a memorial service where the actual bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald was rung for each survivor as family members read their names. I assumed these were grand-children or great-grandchildren. In reality, they were the widows and children of the lost mariners. It was a fascinating documentary but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the Internet Movie Database or on Amazon.

I was going to post the lyrics to the song here but you can find that youself easily enough. Instead, I give you this bit of trivia: the ship was named after Edmund Fitzgerald (3/1/1895 - 1/9/1986) who was a former president of Northwestern Mutual Life.

I also give you the names of the 29 crew members of the Edmund Fitzgerald:
Michael E. Armagost Third Mate
Frederick J. Beetcher Porter
Thomas D. Bentsen Oiler
Edward F. Bindon First Assistant Engineer
Thomas D. Borgeson Able-Bodied Maintenance Man
Oliver J. Champeau Third Assistant Engineer
Nolan F. Church Porter
Ransom E. Cundy Watchman
Thomas E. Edwards Second Assistant Engineer
Russell G. Haskell Second Assistant Engineer
George J. Holl Cheif Engineer
Bruce L. Hudson Deckhand
Allen G. Kalmon Second Cook
Gordon F. MacLellan Wiper
John H. McCarthy First Mate
Ernest M. McSorley Captain
Joseph W. Mazes Special Maintenance Man
Eugene W. O'Brien Wheelsman
Karl A. Peckol Watchman
John J. Poviach Wheelsman
James A. Pratt Second Mate
Robert C. Rafferty First Cook
Paul M. Riippa Deckhand
John D. Simmons Wheelsman
William J. Spengler Watchman
Mark A. Thomas Deckhand
Ralph G. Walton Oiler
David E. Weiss Cadet
Blaine H. Wilhelm oiler


Jen T. (that's me) said...

Why do I love it that you found a website that uses the phrase "Caskets on Parade"? How twisted.

gnightgirl said...

I drank to them all! Ok, I didn't drink to them all, but I read their names outloud. Caskets on Parade is new to me too, ooooooo, but it's so interesting!

Susan in St. Paul said...

Lake Superior is one of the nastiest bodies of water I have ever seen. It is cold and dark and deep. I have swum in all the great lakes except Superior.

The first time I saw Superior it was summer and it was so foreboding I didn't want to be in it and I usually will swim pretty much anywhere.

The Duluth harbor has this huge board with plaques listing each of the ships that have gone down in Superior including the Edmund Fitzgerald.

When you look out on the lake from the harbor you can see how it could easily happen.

Laurie said...

Jen - I think I'll do a post about other sites like that one day. I was tempted to go off on the "Caskets on Parade" tangent but I resisted. :)

GnightGirl - "...I read their names out loud." That's nice.

Susan - Wow. Your comment gave me goosebumps. Very nicely written.

Anonymous said...

Can you post pictures of the crew? Third mate, Michael E. Armagost, in particular. My maiden name is Armagost and when I did see a pic of him briefly on the weather channel he looked like my dad. I am curious to know if we are distantly related. Have to start somewhere to find out. Thank you. C in TN

Laurie said...

Cynthia,this is a link to a picture of him. I wasn't able to download and post the picture. I'll look for more.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lauie. This is the clearest picture I have seen of him. I appreciate you taking the time to find it for me and will check back later to see if you have made any progress in finding more. Take care and God bless. C in TN