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Lighthouse preservation pioneer remembered

JAN. 30 — The man known as “Mr. Lighthouse,” Ken Black, founder of the MaineLighthouseMuseum, died Sunday. He was 82.

A Coast Guard veteran of World War II, Black created the first national newsletter about lighthouses and is largely credited as being one of the founders of the lighthouse preservation movement in the United States, news reports say. His interest in protecting lighthouses began in the 1960s, reports say, when items were being discarded as lighthouses were being automated.

Black spent decades collecting lighthouse artifacts and creating lighthouse exhibits, reports say. He started the First Marine Exhibit at the Rockland (Maine) Coast Guard Station (now located at the MaineLighthouseMuseumin Rockland) which evolved into the largest collection of lighthouse lenses in the country.

Black lived in Union, Maine, with his wife, Dot, who serves as president of the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, news reports say. She is known as “Mrs. Lighthouse.”

Tim Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation , says in news reports that Black knew more than anyone about the mechanics of vintage lighthouse equipment. “We have all lost a man who served his nation well, served his community well, served his family well and was a friend to so many people whose lives he touched in many different ways,” Harrison says. “He will be greatly missed, but we will never let his legacy be forgotten, a legacy that will live forever at the MaineLighthouseMuseum.”

Jason Fell