Digest>Archives> September 2007

Carole Reily: The Lighthouse Lady Is Lost

By Timothy Harrison

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The lighthouse movement has lost yet another great leader with the passing this past July of Carole Reily who was known to many as “The Lighthouse Lady.”

In fact the very first ‘Women of the Light’ column ever published in Lighthouse Digest was about Carole. Carole’s interest in lighthouse started quite by chance when she found an old post card, published by her uncle, of the destroyed Cross Ledge Lighthouse. When researching the post card she found that no one had published any post cards of the Delaware Bay lighthouses, a project she then took on.

Another chance meeting with a former lighthouse keeper created a lighthouse keeper’s reunion get-together in 1995 at the home of Bill Johnson, a former keeper of the Miah Maull Shoal and Ship John Shoal Lighthouses. That reunion meeting led the founding and creation of the Delaware Bay Lighthouse Keepers & Friends Association a group that grew under Carole’s immense enthusiasm. The group held regular events that attracted former Delaware Bay lighthouse keepers, families and descendants of keepers as well as lighthouse aficionados from around the country. Carole promoting the Delaware Bay’s lighthouses on more than just post cards and she came up with all kinds of various products to help promote the lighthouses while attempting to also educate the public on why they lighthouse history needed to be saved.

Over the years I spoke with Carole often and she visited with us here in Maine on several occasions. Even when she was bedridden, she was upbeat and would call me with ideas or to share her plans for lighthouse education. It was always a pleasure to talk with her. Everyone who met her respected her passion and loved her for the person she was. Carole will be missed by many people, but her memory will be kept alive as the founder of the Delaware Bay Lighthouse Keepers and Friends Association.

Carole was cremated and half of her ashes were put in a family plot in New Jersey and the other half were to be scattered in the Delaware Bay with the lighthouses she loved. Donations in Carole Reily’s memory can be made to the Delaware Bay Lighthouse Keepers and Friends Association c/o M. Mulligan, Treasurer, 1049 Simea Terrace, Vineland, NJ 08360.

This story appeared in the September 2007 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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