The Newtown Pentacle

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Captain Doswell

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Captain John Doswell has passed away.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Executive Director of the Working Harbor Committee, Captain John Doswell’s mission was to educate the public about the Harbor of New York and New Jersey. He was a part owner of the John J. Harvey fireboat, a respected speaker on all things maritime, a devoted husband and father, and my friend.

He died as he lived, surrounded by the family he so adored.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After serving in the United States Navy in Viet Nam, Captain Doswell produced trade shows and industrial videos, eventually finding himself in the software business. In the mid 1990’s Captain Doswell shifted his attentions to the waterfront.

Pictured above is how I’ll always remember him, narrating to a sold out boat, explaining every little nuance of what they were seeing at Port Newark, or circumnavigating Staten Island, or while exploring Erie Basin.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

He worked with the Friends of Hudson River Park and the Working Harbor Committee – and a host of elected officials – to bring New Yorkers into closer contact with the water. Captain Doswell coordinated and organized the maritime operations of OpSail 2012, the City of Water Day festivals on Governors Island, the Liberty Challenge International Outrigger Canoe Races, and literally dozens of Working Harbor trips and the annual Great North River Tugboat Race.

He would also regularly send a NY Water Taxi, with some lunatic blogger on the mike, to Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

John Doswell built communities wherever he went. Once you found yourself in his orbit, there was always something amazing going on around him. He was generous with his time, and renowned for an even temperament. It was an honor to know him, and the privilege of having spent as much time as I did with him over the last few years is an incalculable blessing.

The world is a poorer place without him. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Captain John Doswell is survived by his beloved, Jean Preece Doswell, and their daughter Jhoneen. The event of the year for the NY Harbor Community in 2014 was their wedding on July 25 of last year. The NY Times ran a full profile of the event here, which was held on the John J Harvey Fireboat and Lilac – historic vessels which Captain Doswell helped to preserve.

I’m going to miss him. 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. OMG! That’s so awful. I’m speechless.
    P.

    ketzelgirl

    January 5, 2015 at 11:17 am

  2. body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}

    I’m SO sad.  I think your obit is very fine – I appreciate the link to the wedding coverage.  Yes, he will surely be missed by many.  I hope Hidden Harbor tours will go on. Best, Shelley

    Shelley Seccombe

    January 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

  3. […] started off with a bang – and the loss of a dear friend – Captain John Doswell, who was eulogized in this post on January 5th. Out of a desire to escape from existential reality, I went searching for the Vampires that hang […]


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