CAMDEN – Captain W.J.L. Parker, U.S.C.G. ret., 90, died April 28, 2006, at Penobscot Bay Medical Center, Rockport. Lew, as he was known to his friends and family, was born Nov. 17, 1915, in Kentville, N.S. He was the only child to Rupert Uniacke Parker and Lavinia Adora Lewis Parker. His early childhood was spent in Halifax, N.S. where he survived the great Halifax explosion of 1917. While staying near Digby, N.S. about 1919, he witnessed a dirigible flying overhead. The first east to west Atlantic crossing of such a craft. He saw one of the early International Fisherman’s Races off Halifax and in 1922, made a steamship trip with his mother through the Cape Cod Canal before it was widened. At the age of six, the family moved to Arlington, Mass., for several years before relocating in Glen Rock, N.J. in 1928. He graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1934 and went on to earn a degree at Dartmouth in 1938. His father’s connection with Eastern Steamship and other steamship lines gave Lew an inside tract to goings on along the waterfront and the numerous summer trips with his mother along the coast were the beginning of his lifelong interest in ships and shipping. In 1927, Lew was given his first Brownie camera, which he used extensively to photograph vessels along the Boston, Mass. and New York waterfronts, his favorite haunts. In the summers of 1936 and 1937, Lew made two memorable voyages on the three masted N.S. lumber schooner T.K. Bentley. From 1938-1940, he attended Columbia University for a masters degree in history. His masters essay, The Great Coal Schooners of New England, was published in 1948, and is still considered one of the definitive works in its field. In 1941, he joined the newly formed U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and the day after Pearl Harbor found himself on active duty. He served aboard the attack transport ship, Hunter Liggett, in the South Pacific and the Gen. J.C. Breckinridge a P2 class transport in North Atlantic. After the war Lew was stationed on the USCG North Atlantic weather patrol vessels Dexter and Owasco and then was stationed at New York for three years. From 1952, until his retirement in 1969, he had a distinguished career in USCG marine inspection, stationed in Houston, Texas and then Yokohama, Japan. In 1964, he was appointed officer in charge of marine inspection at Boston, Mass. until he retired as a captain. In 1961, he married Frances Dailor who was in the foreign service at Yokohama. They made their home together, after retirement in 1969, when not on one of their numerous trips, on Chestnut Street, Camden, until Francis passed away in 2002. Lew had spent much of his time both before and since retirement on his lifelong passion of maritime history. For many years he had been the undisputed worldwide leading authority on the large cargo schooners of the Eastern Seaboard. His knowledge and collection is second to none and he was generous with his research. His retention of vessel history was remarkable; and had given talks and had extensive articles published on the subject. He had been a life long supporter of a number of leading maritime museums of the world, as well as a trustee alumnus of the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Lew loved nothing better than sitting down for an evening cocktail with his pipe while visiting with friends, who are many, or dining on seafood and curry or just a good meal eating out. He particularly enjoyed discussing maritime history and looking at photos of historic sailing vessels. He enjoyed classical music, the Bay Chamber Concerts, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church. He will be sadly missed by friends and the world. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 33 Chestnut St., Camden, with the Rev. John Gilchrist officiating. Interment will follow in All Souls Memorial Garden at the church. Memorial donations may be made to the Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington St., Bath, ME 04530. Arrangements are with the Laite Funeral Home, 9 Mountain St., Camden.