Annual Charleston “Blessing of the Fleet” Scheduled for May 28th – Memorial Day

News and Information from
Oregon International Port of Coos Bay

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2018

Annual Charleston “Blessing of the Fleet” Scheduled for May 28th – Memorial Day

Charleston, Ore. - In honor of the fishing community in Charleston and the Charleston community, the annual Blessing of the Fleet and Memorial Service will be held at the Charleston Fisherman’s Memorial Garden, near the launch ramp at the Charleston Marina at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28th.

The service will honor the local men and women involved in commercial fishing and the fishing industry who have died since 1941. This year the Charleston community will add nine names to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman” Plaque: Barbara Hazel, Mike Lester, William L. Merritt III, Patricia Jane “Patty” Parr, Bob “Rubber Toe” Stevenson, Harry L. Taylor, DeWayne “Tee” Toliver, and Mel VanRonk. Three names will be added to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman's Industry” plaque: Michael J. Hosie, George Paynter, and Eva M. Taylor.

As part of the event, local marine services firm owner William Elderkin will comment about the fishing industry and the fisherman’s memorial and give opening and closing remarks. The Charleston Community Baptist Church will deliver a memorial blessing. The Oregon Coast Pipes and Drums will perform on the bagpipes to open and close the event. The U.S. Coast Guard will provide a color guard and advance and retire the colors. The 1954 buoy bell will be rung as each name is read. The ringing of the bell is significant because fishermen rely on this sound for safe navigation.

Following the blessing and memorial service, there will be a coffee and a special cake reception at Porter Hall behind the Charleston Baptist Community Church on Boat Basin Road. All are welcome to attend. In addition, a Coast Guard life boat will load floral arrangements to take to sea and lay on the water in a brief ceremony. The boat is scheduled to get under way immediately after the blessing and memorial service, weather permitting.

The community is encouraged to provide floral arrangements or memorial wreaths, but they must contain only biodegradable materials. Local floral businesses can readily accommodate requests for this type of arrangement. Wreaths will be accepted at the Fishermen’s Memorial and then delivered to the boat if wished.


For more information regarding this special event please contact:

Margery Whitmer, Secretary of the Fishermen’s Memorial
E // P 541-888-9021