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MSRA Newsletter 13


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    Nov. 2008 Vol 13

    The Explorer is a regular publication of MSRA distributed via email. For more information visit

    Letter From the BoardLetter From the BoardLetter From the BoardLetter From the BoardLetter From the BoardDear MSRA Members,

    Greetings after a longsummer which extended into thefall and allowed MSRA toaccomplish much this year.

    Summer activitiesincluded diving and documentingthe two new wrecks found withClive Cussler, as well as exploringthree newly discovered wrecks inthe northern Lake Michigan areaoff Frankfort, MI. More informationabout those activities will beincluded in our next newsletter.

    The team is also workingto complete the MichiganHumanities Council Grant that hasresulted in the development of anexhibit at the Heritage Museumand Cultural Center in St. Joseph.Details about the exhibit areincluded on page 6.

    Sometimes the work ofthe organization takes us indirections we would not anticipate,such as being able to host amemorial for the families of Flight2501 victims 58 years after theaccident. Being able to dosomething like this for thefamilies has been very rewardingand we appreciate the supportof all our members.

    We look forward tocelebrating the year with theorganization at our third annualMSRA holiday party which willbe held on December 6th. Wehope you can all join in thefestivities. Details will follow!

    Best Regards,

    Craig RichCraig RichCraig RichCraig RichCraig RichDirector, MSRA

    P.S. Please consider a year-endtax-deductable donation to MSRA

    MSRA Hosts MemorialMSRA Hosts MemorialMSRA Hosts MemorialMSRA Hosts MemorialMSRA Hosts MemorialWNDU News Story byRyan Famuliner9-20-08

    Families from acrossthe country gathered in St. Jo-seph, Michigan Saturday after-noon to finally get closure afterlosing their loved ones more than58 years ago.The story startedback in June of 1950, when North-west Airlines Flight 2501 crashedinto Lake Michigan. At the time, itwas the largest aviation disasterever in the U.S.

    None of the 58 peopleon board survived, and to this dayno one really knows why theplane crashed, because thewreckage has never been found. But days after the crash debris started washing ashore, which until recentlyhad been forgotten about. Now, more than a half century later, its given families at least one answer.

    A group based out of Holland, Michigan started searching for the remains of the plane about 5years ago. We have yet to find the remains, but we found something more important I think, said ValerieVan Heest with Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates (MSRA).Searching through old records, theyfound evidence of an unmarked grave. It was about one line that basically said plane crash victims from1950, that were buried in Riverview Cemetery; which is where we are today, said Chriss Lyon, anothermember of MSRA, who helped discover the unmarked mass grave. Even though most of the victims ofthe crash had their own services in towns across the country in 1950, Saturday was the first time victims

    had a memorial at their true resting place. Im so glad. It wasreally hard to come but I thought; its just one day in my lifethat I really dont want to miss, said Elizabeth Schulze, whocame to the service from California. Her uncle died in thecrash.

    Victims relatives wore pictures of their loved onesnear their hearts, where the memories had never left. I was16 when it happened and I can remember when my mothertold us what had happened; I thought well maybe he didntget on the plane, maybe hes safe somewhere; but of coursethat wasnt true, Schulze said. Some human remains washedashore back in 1950. The coast guard cremated them andburied them in the Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph. Thegrave was not marked, and no family members were evernotified. You dont ever quite close the door on this happen-ing because there wasnt any closure, Schulze said. Wedont know what remains are buried there, but for the samereason I assume my mothers are. So for the first time she'snot quote, lost. Shes dead, but it doesnt have the sense of"what happened?" so much, said Bill Kaufmann of Oakland,CA, whose mother died in the crash when he was 6 yearsold. Theres not so much sadness; I mean its been 58 years.

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    Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Cont from page 1Cont from page 1Cont from page 1Cont from page 1Cont from page 1From the Front Page of the Herald Palladium: Sept. 21, 2008

    Jeff Filbrandt of FilbrandtFuneral Home in South Havenmade all this possible. Hedonated the granite grave stoneengraved with the names of all58 victims.

    Some might recall Bill Kaufmann andKen Skoug II and III who traveled herein 2006 to meet the team, attendMSRAs annual program andparticipate in the search effort. Wewere pleased that both families couldreturn for the memorial service.

    The families who traveled here forthe memorial service met after theservice at the Van Heests house fora gathering to remember those lostin the crash and share stories of howthey dealt with the tragic loss of theirloved ones.

    They talk about completion and tying up loose ends, but there are a lot of things we still dont knowabout, said Robert K. Williams of Minnesota, whose cousin died in the crash.

    MSRA hopes to give the families that, too, by continuing the search for the wreckage in LakeMichigan. Finding the grave has provided one answer, and finding the plane will get the rest of theanswers, Van Heest said. But for some the answer to, where? helps closure finally start. Just to havea picture in my mind of near where the plane crashed and the beautiful place where theyre resting,Schulze said. A few days after the crash in June of 1950, the Korean War started. Families say thatdominated the news coverage, so they found out very few details about the crash where they lived. Noneof the victims were local. The flight left New York headed for Minneapolis, and ultimately bound forSeattle. They say it was really difficult to track down any information about the crash. MSRA also hadsome trouble tracking down all the families even now; many relatives have passed on. But they'vecontacted the majority of them, and about 10 families from as far away as Virginia and California cameto Michigan for the Ceremony Saturday. A headstone for the victims was dedicated at the ceremonySaturday, with all 58 names listed: 55 passengers, and 3 crew members.

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    Julys sinking of a 65-foot motor yacht in Lake Michigan, under-scored a major rule in boating: equip your boat with goodPFDs!

    This article was written by Valerie vanHeest for Lakeland Boating Magazineand will appear in an upcoming issue.

    Tim Marr is no stranger to ship-wrecks. He owns Advance Scuba, a diveshop in Holland Michigan, where he

    teaches diving, and operates a charter service thattakes divers to explore the numerous shipwrecks lostoff the shores of western Michigan. But Tim never ex-pected to be shipwrecked himself!

    Last month this burly 46-year old former Spe-cial Forces operative, boat mechanic and Captain witha 100- ton masters license, was retained by the ownerof a classic 65-foot, 1966 Chris-Craft Constellation, PIZZAZZ, to pilot the yacht from its new home portin Saugatuck, MI to Charlevoix, MI. The owner intended to drive up and meet the boat for a weekend ofcruising. July 23rd was a warm, the sky was dull and the seas were running 1-3 feet. It would be abouncy, but safe run, Tim thought, particularly for a boat of that size and condition. The beautiful 42-yearold motor yacht, with mahogany planking and teak decks, had been meticulously maintained by itsprior owner.

    Tims 15-year old son and namesake, Tim Marr Jr., would accompany him on the run north.Timmy is no stranger to Lake Michigan; he is a certified diver and firstmate, who regularly works alongside his Dad. The father/son pair hadintended to spend a few days together in Charlevoix before the ownerarrived. The three-foot chop they set out in on Tuesday morning wouldhave more than enough to make a cruise on a smaller boat annoyingand unpleasant, but the big yacht PIZZAZZ was taking the waves com-fortably and making good headway north along Michigans western shore.Tim calculated they would reach Charlevoix, 220-miles distant, by lateafternoon on Wednesday.

    What the father/ son crew could never have anticipated was theseries of rogue waves that hit them in the early afternoon. PIZZAZZ wasabout a mile off Little Sable Point when Tim saw a freak wave in thedistance. Get up here Junior, he called to his son who was down in thesalon playing Xbox, Theres a huge wave heading our way!

    Tim held the helm steady, steering perpendicular into the freak wavebuilding from the north. PIZZAZZ reared upwards and glided nicely overthe wall of water. Tim and Timmy both breathed an audible sigh of relief,but when the onslaught of water cleared from the windshield, they couldsee several more unusually large waves. My God, Tim thought, Ive

    In the Next Issue.....In the Next Issue.....In the Next Issue.....In the Next Issue.....In the Next Issue.....

    Pastor Robert Linstrom fromthe Peace Luthern Church inSouth Haven officiated at theFlight 2501 Memorial Service.

    Shipwrecked! Not Just a Thing of the Past!Shipwrecked! Not Just a Thing of the Past!Shipwrecked! Not Just a Thing of the Past!Shipwrecked! Not Just a Thing of the Past!Shipwrecked! Not Just a Thing of the Past!

    Tim Marr and his son Tim Jr. havealways been close, but even moreso now that they survived thesinking of the Pizzazz. At timesduring the ordeal they each fearedloosing the other.

    In the weeks following the accident,Tim Marr was able to locate thewreck of the Pizzazz and attempt toretrieve some of his personalpossessions, but fewremained after thesinking. Another