Thresher Project Update

February 28th, 2014

Thresher_Project_Update_022814 word doc with photos.

IRENE J. HARVEY – We express our heartfelt condolences to the Harvey family on Irene’s passing. As a leading light in their lives has dimmed, so it has for all who knew her. We wish their grief and mourning find them nothing but fondest memories.photo_011154_dit2177444_1_photo1_cropped_20140222

“Obituary for Irene J. Harvey
Irene Harvey, 87, passed away on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Walter and Helene Nagorski, Irene graduated from Frankford High School and Frankford Hospital School of Nursing. In 1950 she married her high school sweetheart, John “Wes” Harvey, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Wes was the Commanding Officer of the USS THRESHER SSN 593 when she was lost at sea on April 10, 1963. Always a devoted Navy wife and Mother, Irene made her home at: Newport News, VA, Quonset Point, RI, Idaho Falls, ID, Groton, New London, and Waterford, CT, Honolulu, HI, and Mare Island, CA. Her final years were at Branford
and Rocky Hill, CT.

As a nurse and Navy widow Irene touched many lives. She believed that the meaning of life is not to be found in mere survival. Instead, life’s purpose is to be found somewhere in the process of caring, sharing, and loving. She taught us that strength and faith are not things you acquire in a moment when you need them; and instead, they come from the process of searching from all you have experienced.

Active in local politics, Irene attended the Inaugural Ball of President Johnson with the Democratic National Committeewoman. On May 17, 1969, Irene sponsored and christened the USS FLYING FISH SSN 673 which was built by General Dynamics in Groton, CT. Irene served on DACOWITS, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. The Committee traveled to every major military installation in the country to interpret to the public the need for and role of women in the services and to promote public acceptance of the military service as a career for women. She was the first Postal Nurse in Connecticut and worked at the Brewery Street facility in New Haven, retiring as Head Nurse in 1986. The USPS became her extended family.

Irene leaves behind two sons, John and Bruce and his wife Maresa and two grandchildren, Laura and John.

Services will be private and there will be a burial at sea at the sight of the loss of the THRESHER. To extend online condolences please visit Memorial donations may be made in Irene’s name to: USS Thresher Memorial, P.O. Box 321, Kittery, Maine 03904.”

We also express greatest appreciation and gratitude that John and Bruce chose to honor her memory with contributions to the Thresher Memorial Project. They personally have sponsored a granite bench and the Memorial Park flagpole which will illuminate the American flag it will carry and shine down on the Thresher monument and courtyard.

The 51st Annual USS Thresher Memorial Service hosted by USSVI Thresher Base at the R. W. Traip Academy Auditorium in Kittery, Maine on Saturday, April 12, 2014. See Thresher Base website at:

“On Saturday, April 12, 2014, the 51st Annual USS Thresher Memorial Service hosted by USSVI Thresher Base will be held at the R. W. Traip Academy Auditorium honoring the loss of 129 crew members, US Naval Submarine Officer Observers, and civilian support personnel aboard the USS Thresher during sea trials off the New England coast 50 years ago on April 10, 1963.

The memorial service will begin at 1300. Attendance is open only to those who have received an invitation and sent in their RSVP.

Invitations will be sent to USS Thresher family and former crew members on February 8th. USSVI members will receive an email invitation. RSVP’s are due on March 15th. Email your RSVP with the names in your party to Thresher Base Commander Kevin Galeaz by email at or by phone 603.268.0420.

Name-tags will be made up for all USS Thresher family and former crew members identified in the RSVPs.

To request and invitation or to obtain additional information regarding the event, email Thresher Base Commander Kevin Galeaz at or phone 603.268.0420.”

Members of the Thresher Memorial Project Group invited and John Carson, Gerry Mylroie, Kenneth Lemont, Keith Lemont, and Gary Beers plan to attend. Group member and “Silent Strength” author D. Allan Kerr will let let us know if he can be there by the March 15th RSVP deadline.


With regret, due to the harsh winter we have experienced (see winter photos next); the complete uncertainty whether ground conditions will be suitable for installation of the Circle of Honor Courtyard; with ceremony details requiring well-in-advance notice; and, the inability to predict the vagaries of weather we have no sufficient means to assure that the remaining Park work can be completed in time for an April 13th event.

Ergo, the Group has decided to conduct the Memorial Park dedication ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th, 2014. It is expected that the landscaping will be trim, and plantings will be in full bloom, then making the site pristine for the ceremony. Full details will be disseminated after we deconflict with other events on that day.

We are truly sorry that we’ll miss the 51st anniversary, but do expect all components to be on display at the Park for the folks from away to see their sponsored commemorations on that day.

PHOTOS BY GERRY MYLROIE on the Downloadable Doc.

We need just $6,942.08 to complete the entire project. We’re getting there.

Memorial Circle Flagpole (Base/Pole/Flags) $61,724.48
Memorial Circle (Signage/Hardscape/Landscape) $42,429.90
Memorial Park CoH (Pavers/Plaque/Benches/Walks/Landscape) $65,351.90
Post-Project (Flags/Electricity/Maintenance) $16,500.00
Other Expenses $17,624.90
EXPENSE TOTAL $203,631.18

Memorial Donations & Pledges (Contributor Funds – Direct In-Kind) $105,209.38
Dedication Events & Admin (Separately Donated) $17,624.90
Other In-Kind (Engineer, Legal, etc) (Separately Donated) $73,854.82

Ninety sponsors came forward for D. Allan Kerr’s “Silent Strength” with 161 more pre-orders of the book (20 individual, plus Albacore Park in Portsmouth and St. Mary’s Museum in St. Mary’s Georgia). That represents $8,900 of the $13,000 publishing costs.

Just 137 more copies at $29.99 each (plus $5.95 S&H for mailing) need to be sold to cover it all. After that, sales revenue is to be contributed to this Memorial Project.

Expected to be available in early April, arrangements may also be made to pick up your copy around the April 10th anniversary and Thresher Base memorial service on April 12th. Details will be disseminated as soon as firmed up.

Simply send in your payment to Thresher Memorial Project, P.O. Box 321, Kittery ME 03904, and write Silent Strength in the memo section of your check, 0r pay via PayPal at:

Project Facebook Friend Robin Joseph McAteer created a page “A Tribute to US Thresher”. In the truest meaning of the word…..Awesome! Just paste this link in your URL address bar: