One of the leaders of the lighthouse community left us on Saturday, February 23, when Terry Pepper died of cancer at his home in Brutus, Michigan, at the age of 70.
Terry was involved with the lighthouses of the Great Lakes since the late 1980s. His website, Seeing the Light, is a wonderful, extensive resource on the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. He joined the board of directors of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in 1999 and became the organization’s first executive director in 2007.
Announcing the news of his passing on Saturday on their Facebook page, the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance posted:
“Terry Pepper passed away quietly today with his beloved Mary by his side at home, just the way they wanted. He was such a great person whose love of lighthouses was only eclipsed by his love of lighthouse people. Well miss you Terry, thanks for lighting the way for so many of us.”
Tom Tag of the U.S. Lighthouse Society posted on the USLHS Facebook page:
“Yesterday the lighthouse community lost one of its leaders and a great man. Terry Pepper lost his battle with cancer and the lighthouse movement lost a leader and good friend.
I first met Terry in the late 1990s when he came to my home in Ohio to discuss lighthouses and to trade information. At that time Terry was only known for his Seeing the Light website. It was only a few years later that Terry began traveling from his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) in Mackinaw City, Michigan, every weekend. He made these trips week after week to volunteer his time and resources to help GLLKA in any way that he could.
Terry’s lighthouse knowledge was fantastic. He studied lighthouses, he wrote about lighthouses, he collected information about lighthouses, he gave speeches about lighthouses at various conferences and meetings. It was only a few years later that he became the Executive Director of GLLKA.
We, who are interested in lighthouses, will have a nearly impossible task to try to replace Terry’s knowledge, friendship, and management skills. He was Mr. Lighthouse for the Great Lakes and his passing leaves a major hole in our community.
Goodbye to our friend and fair sailing!”
Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. She worked for 30 years with lighthouse history. She also worked with the National Parks System, and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted historical author and the most knowledgable person on lighthouse historical information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights, Mind the Light Katie, a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.