Sea History 178 - Spring 2022

Page 56

FIDDLER’S GREEN

photo by robb jones

William Jackson Green was a dear friend of the National Maritime Historical Society, serving as trustee since 2011 and most recently on the Executive Committee of NMHS as the Education Chair. As a marketing person, he worked to get our educational programs better known and to help us with long-term strategic plans. He was deeply passionate about inspiring the next generation of maritime scholars with the Society’s education initiatives. A graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in history, Bill was later commissioned in the Navy and served in the Caribbean and Mediterranean as gunnery officer and command duty officer aboard USS Fort Mandan (LSD 21). After sea service, he spent two years as an instructor of naval science and tactics at the US Navy’s Officer Candidate School. He left the Navy as a Lieutenant and in 1969 joined the advertising firm of Young & Rubicam, where over the course of 32 years he was responsible for a wide variety of accounts. In his last ten years at the agency he managed the communications needs of the US Army, retiring as executive vice president. I had known Bill all my life. He was the youngest of the eight children of Robert and Ellen Green; my father was the eldest. We spent our summers together with the rest of the sprawling Green family on our islands at Pointe au Baril, Canada, where we both learned to love boating. He took such an active interest in NMHS, and I was delighted when he agreed to serve Gunnery Officer fires a gun again after 57 years: as a trustee, becoming an important NMHS Trustee William J. Green fires a part of our leadership. He joined us 5-inch/38-caliber gun from the deck of the at all of our events and always gave a Battleship New Jersey during the Society’s Ansplendid presentation, encouraging nual Meeting in July 2021. both membership and commitment. As a student at the preparatory school Appleby College (Ontario, Canada), he traveled to sing at the Queen’s coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953. He had lived in Rhode Island and New Jersey, Venezuela and Canada, and was splitting his time between New York City and Fairfield, Connecticut, at the time of his death. His zest for life-long learning through travel and adventure never waned. He enjoyed annual historical tours of Europe and relaxing trips to the Caribbean with his wife, Nancy, and his daughter Lys and her family. Bill was an avid reader and devoured the New York Times every day. When Bill, Lys, and I were all reading the Alan Furst novels, and we were in Paris at the same time, I was so happy to take them to dinner at the supposed bistro with the bullet hole at Table 14 that featured in so many of Furst’s novels. Just weeks before his death, I told Bill that I was planning to retire after 26 years here at the Society. This is a man who had had a great and active and accomplished life, who was successful and beloved. “You will love it,” he reassured me. “Of everything, these last 25 years in retirement have been the best of my life.” And you can’t say better than that. You are so missed, William Jackson. Fair winds. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President 54

purchasing equipment to deliver these programs, and providing the programs to underserved community partners free of cost. The programs are expected to roll out in Autumn 2022. (MSM, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT; Ph. 860 572-0711; www. mysticseaport.org) … The ferry John F. Kennedy, retired in August of last year from service in the Staten Island Ferry fleet, was sold at auction in January for a price tag of $280,100. New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services set the initial list price for the vessel at $240,000, but after no bids were John F. Kennedy

courtesy staten island ferry

William Jackson Green (1940–2021)

placed, dropped the opening price to $125,000. According to the auction listing, “This double-ended, passenger and vehicle ferry up for auction is in poor condition and had to be decommissioned due to mechanical issues; the mechanical issues are on the propulsion end.” In addition to the ferry, sold in an “as is/where is” condition, the City also threw in “numerous spare parts, which are obsolete and not needed by our agency.” Shortly after the auction, it was revealed that the new owners were Saturday Night Live comedians Pete Davidson and Colin Jost, both Staten Island natives, and businessman Paul Italia. The team plans to convert the vessel to an entertainment venue and bar. Davidson and Jost promptly announced the purchase on Saturday Night Live, noting that most of the details of their planned venture were yet to be worked out. Jost wisecracked: “Yes, it’s very exciting. We thought the whole thing through.” Longtime members and friends of NMHS will remember that the John F. Kennedy served as our official observation vessel for Operation Sail 2000. The City of New York has operated the Staten Island Ferry service since 1905; today the ferries run around the clock, 365 days a year. Until her retirement in August of last year, the Kennedy was the oldest of the five ferries making the trip between Staten Island and lower Manhattan. Launched in 1965, along with the other two Kennedy-class ferries, American SEA HISTORY 178, SPRING 2022