The American Lighthouse Foundation is deeply saddened by the news that one of the organization’s co-founders and founding president – Timothy Harrison, passed away on August 19, 2023. Tim served as ALF president from 1994 to 2006. Thereafter, he would serve as chairperson for ALF’s Friends of Little River Lighthouse until 2015. Little River Lighthouse is preserved today thanks in large part to Tim’s relentless efforts to save the historic site, of which many did not believe was even possible.
Tim also founded the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, Maine. The Museum, which placed an important focus on the human interest stories of lighthouse keepers and their families, would later merge with the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland during 2007 to form the largest collection of lighthouse artifacts and memorabilia in the nation.
During his time as ALF president, Tim was presented with the United States Coast Guard’s Meritorious Public Service Award and Medal for his many accomplishments in the fields of lighthouse preservation and history. In 2014, Tim was presented with the American Lighthouse Council’s “F. Ross Holland Award” for his dedication to saving lighthouses and their rich history.
Tim Harrison’s impact on lighthouses also went far beyond the American Lighthouse Foundation. He was the co-owner of the popular Lighthouse Depot in Wells, Maine, for many years and served as the Editor in Chief of the Lighthouse Digest Magazine for the last thirty-one years. Tim was very passionate about saving the memories and photos of lighthouse keepers, as well as encouraging the ongoing preservation of America’s lighthouses and sharing lighthouse stories not found elsewhere in each issue of the magazine.
He was also the author of 11 lighthouse books and the driving force behind honoring the memories of lighthouse keepers by placing U.S. Lighthouse Service markers on the grave sites of many keepers.
Tim was a long-time board member for the Maine Lighthouse Museum and was serving as the president for the West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Association at the time of his passing.
The American Lighthouse Foundation wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Timothy Harrison’s wife Kathleen Finnegan, his family and countless friends. In 2015, Tim was quoted as saying, “My primary mission for the past 25 years has been to locate, save and document the memories and stories of the people who once lived at lighthouses, so that they can be saved for future generations.” Job well done, Tim.