Digest>Archives> August 2010

Community Mourns Loss of Lighthouse Bob

By Timothy Harrison


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Bob Hanford at Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in 2005 ...

Bob Hanford, known by the maritime community as “Lighthouse Bob,” the long time tour guide lighthouse keeper at Michigan’s Fort Gratiot Lighthouses has died at the age of 84.

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For 20 years, Bob Hanford gave guided tours at ...

For an amazing 20 years, from 1988 until 2008 when the lighthouse tower closed for safety reasons, Hanford volunteered his time for guided tours at the lighthouse. Always wearing a lighthouse keeper’s uniform, Hanford was passionate about the lighthouse, something that everyone who visited the lighthouse realized.

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Robert Hanford 1926 - 2010

Over the years thousands of people who visited the lighthouse, not only learned about the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, but lighthouse history and just about anything that was used to operate the lighthouse, from the Fresnel lens to the brass oil cans and the daily life and hardships experienced by the old time keepers and their families.

Hanford served in the United States Coast Guard from 1943 to 1946 and saw action in World War II at Normandy and Iwo Jima. After serving as a police officer in Detroit for 25 years he retired in 1972 and moved to Port Huron in 1975 where he gained his interest in the lighthouse. As well as giving tours at the lighthouse, once a month he gave the place a good cleaning, keeping everything in immaculate condition.

Thank you, Bob, for all that you did. May others follow the example that you left us with.

This story appeared in the August 2010 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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