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In Memoriam: Russell Booth

On Sunday, June 15th, the Maritime Park Association (formerly National Maritime Museum Association) lost one of its most valued employees. Russell Alan Booth, Ship's Manager of the Association's World War II submarine, USS Pampanito, died from complications following a brain aneurism.

Russ made the Pampanito an outstanding example of historic ships restoration and in the process made himself one of the leading figures in this field. In April of this year, he was co-chairman of an International Historic Ship Conference in San Francisco that drew 150 participants from 14 foreign countries and from throughout the United States.

Russ also spent time helping other historical organizations. He was past president of the Historic Naval Ships Association and often served as a consultant on the restoration and maintenance of historic vessels, most recently the USS Cobia, a World War II submarine in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Russ joined the Museum Association in 1978 as a deckhand on the sailing ship Balclutha. When the Association opened Pampanito at Pier 45 in 1982, he joined its crew and soon became its manager. By dedication, experience and self-education, he restored the submarine to her wartime configuration and equipment. In 1986, Pampanito was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

Association Executive Director Kathy Lohan said, "Russ has been the heart and soul of the success of the Pampanito and the National Maritime Museum Association. His dedication and commitment to maritime preservation was unmatched. He will be missed by all of us, staff, volunteers, and trustees."

Russ maintained contact with Pampanito's World War II crew through regular reunions aboard, the latest being in 1996. He took these occasions to draw from these aging warriors the reminiscences that became part of the extensive record he collected on the Navy's wartime "silent service."

To bring the history of a war of more than fifty years ago to a modern generation, he instituted overnight programs for scout troops to give them the sense of what it was to be "on patrol" in the far reaches of the Pacific. An avid computer enthusiast, he developed the association's internet web site which focused on the history and technology of USS Pampanito and other Association programs. He edited the association's publication Sea Letter for several years. Aside from his maritime interests, Russ was an avid musician and a skilled photographer. He is survived by his wife Daria, daughter Hannah, and sister Barbara.

The family requests donations be made to:

The Hannah Booth Trust Fund
First National Bank
1450 Linda Mar Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044-3340

or

Maritime Park Association
The USS Pampanito Hull Fund
P.O. Box 470310
San Francisco, CA 94147-0310

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Version 1.03, 2013