2014 Blessing of the Fleet & Memorial Plaque Dedication

The Seward Mariners’ Memorial committee helped kick off Harbor Opening activities with the annual memorial plaque dedication followed by the Blessing of the Fleet May 17. Father Tero led the group gathered at the memorial site with thoughts and prayers to loved ones of those memorialized on plaques lining the inside walls of the lighthouse replica and for protection of those still on the water.

Iris Johnson spoke of her recently departed husband Captain Jack Johnson, as did Rolf Bardarson for his late father Linne’ Bardarson. Musicians Randy Altermatt and Joe and Lona D’Entrone led a sing-a-long to the mariner favorite Fiddler’s Green. A quilt made and donated to the Mariners’ Memorial by the Seward Area Quilters was raffled off later that evening and won by local resident and fellow quilter Judy Christiansen.


Members of the Mariners’ Memorial committee are gearing up for a busy summer to complete the final construction phase of the project featuring installation of a wave wall, four cleat benches, a bench honoring the late Sue Kaanta and landscaping. These efforts are boosted with continuing support from the Seward Community Foundation, Holland America, Rasmuson Foundation and Kenai Mountain Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area Corridor Communities – and many private and corporate donors. However, approximately $20,000 is still needed to complete the project.

Iris Johnson shares a bit of her late husband’s maritime adventures with the crowd gathered for the annual memorial plaque dedication May 17. Captain Jack Johnson’s plaque recently joined others mounted on the lighthouse wall. 

Father Tero of Sacred Heart Catholic Church once again presided over the annual Seward Mariners’ Memorial plaque dedication and Blessing of the Fleet. 

A film crew documented the mariners’ ceremony for the Travel Channel. The group is in Seward to film how a small seaside town gears up for the boating season.

Article & Photos by Nancy Erickson

Stephanie Millane