I missed the rear admiral part of David Stinson’s life. In the 1980s he was primarily the Reverend Joseph David Stinson and a good friend, although we were not his flock members at the Boothbay Harbor Congregational Church.
David and his wife Cindy disembarked at Boothbay Harbor in 1982. During this period of my career, I photographed many weddings with David and attended more than a couple of funerals held under his direction. Boothbay Harbor was a fair piece of his hometown of Bonham in East Texas and an interesting transition from Yale where he attended theological school. Somehow he succeeded!
David and Cindy were back in Maine to attend and participate in the memorial service for Bob Foster at the Ocean Point Chapel. David was part of an important clergy participation and helped to officiate. I had never seen him in a Rear Admiral’s uniform, but I believe he mainly represented his religious affiliation and friendship. I recognized that. It has been a long time since we last crossed paths. He had let me know that he was heading towards us and I wanted to say hello to him. It was a busy morning in the chapel. It’s not a great place to catch up and remember, but we did manage to remember a few things and share a few light stories, which David is quite famous for.
Our most significant experience, speaking of light history, with Reverend Stinson occurred in 1988 when we found ourselves halfway through the pregnancy of our first child. Susan and I had been together for about 10 years but weren’t married. Our families, when they found out, were happy for us, but very upset not to be married! So we called David. “Do you have plans for St. Patrick’s Day, Uncle David?” We have to get married!
I called my old friend Larry Knapp, who I had known from my early days in Little River, to see if he would agree to take us in a small group on his boat for a brief wedding ceremony. We wanted to include our old and dear friend Virginia Inness-Brown, but due to health issues she was unable to attend. So we asked Larry to drop anchor right next to Virginia’s cottage on Little River, where she could look out her bedroom window and observe the festivities. David was our officiant. The deed was done. The families have calmed down.
David was in Boothbay Harbor for 10 years, then moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, right next to where I had taught in Montclair. He even made the acquaintance of former students and I photographed a wedding with David there, just like in the good old days in Maine. During his 20 years at Glen Ridge, David became Rear Admiral Stinson, working extensively with returning veterans from the wars in the Middle East and helping families in loss. While in New Jersey, David and Cindy expanded their family and bought a house in New Hampshire, in Cindy’s familiar territory.
It was good to see David and Cindy. There have been a lot of changes here in the area since they left which our repeat visit seemed to ignore. Seeing old friends can do it. There are a lot of fond memories of the “time”. I was upgraded but that didn’t seem to matter. Nice to catch up.