It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry Pepper, former Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association and a truly nice person. Terry was always willing to help us at the Shipwreck Museum, and made major contributions to our collective understanding of Great Lakes’ lighthouses, even going as far as to allow us to use his detailed Whitefish Point Light-Station research to aid our staff in their understanding of our own lighthouse. He was always willing to come up and do a program at the museum, and his presentations were always interesting and entertaining.
The Michigan Lighthouse Alliance, of which Terry was a Board Member, posted the following:
“Terry Pepper passed away quietly today with his beloved wife 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.” According to the Mackinac Island Town Crier, his interest in lighthouses was piqued nearly 30 years ago, when he noticed a beautiful lighthouse on one of his frequent trips from his home in Indiana to northern Michigan. Since then, Pepper learned as much as he could about lighthouses, scouring libraries and archives for information. He enjoyed sharing his work—as he did at the AGLMH conference in 2017—and helping lighthouse preservationists develop viable management strategies for their properties. At last year’s first International Lighthouse Conference on Mackinac Island, Terry received the Beacon Award from the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance, as well as the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Francis Ross Holland Distinguished Service Award. Each recognized his efforts to foster lighthouse preservation, restoration, and research.”I’m a student of lighthouse history and research,” Mr. Pepper told Stephanie Fortino of the Town Crier, confessing he was a little embarrassed to receive both awards. Pepper created the Seeing the Light web site, on which he catalogued all his research on lighthouses in the western Great Lakes. “Seeing the Light started as I traveled to see lighthouses,” he said, “but grew into so much more, into finding out histories.” For a great many of us, we’ve lost a true friend, an advocate and an ally as we seek to better understand and interpret this Great Lakes maritime history that we all love so much.