Board of Directors
Jim Dempsey, Chair
Jim Dempsey has lived in Newfoundland for more than half of his lifetime. Growing up on Vancouver Island, he was fortunate to spend his summers on the water in small boats. At times, he had two clinker-built skiffs which he used for short adventures or camping trips in the Gulf Islands. Today Jim lives by the sea in Flatrock with his wife, Catherine and has a Henry Vokey rodney and a Norwegian-styled light weight skiff.
Jim was educated in the marine sciences. Since leaving school, he has worked as a contract consultant for marine-based industries. In British Columbia, he was the skipper of a 40 ft. work boat and travelled between the Columbia River to Alaska for work. In 1981, offshore oil brought him to St. John’s and where he spent years of his life on supply vessels measuring ocean currents and waves with the occasional iceberg on the side. In those years when the offshore was quiet, there always seemed to be something to do in Labrador. In his time in Newfoundland, he has sailed the east coast of Canada from Sable Island to Baffin Bay.
Today, he has turned his mixed environmental and marine operations experiences into a role as an emergency and oil spill response advisor. Jim learned his carpentry skills at his father’s side. There were even a few plywood boats in those days. At one point, Jim attempted to get a shipwright’s apprenticeship at the navy yard in Esquimalt. After two years of trying, he was told that they shop were leery of university boys and he gave it up. Jim promised himself that, at some point, life would include building small wooden boats. The museum has proved to be a friendly way to get into boat building where he coordinates the workshop program.
Paul Chafe, Vice Chair
Paul Chafe is an award-winning architect with eight years of international industry experience. Born and raised in St. John’s, Paul is passionate about Newfoundland & Labrador heritage, specifically vernacular architecture. He was the designer of the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation – recipient of the Southcott Award for New Building Design, presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Historic Trust. Paul also acted as Project Architect for the John C. Crosbie Sealers’ Interpretation Centre in Elliston.
Paul strives to design innovative, contemporary buildings that complement the character of the historical built environment. Paul has developed expertise in leading community design projects, as well as investigating and developing inventories of heritage buildings, structures, and landscape features.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys canoeing, woodworking, and hiking with his family.
Wallace Pinhorn, Treasurer
Wallace is a Professional Engineer and is a Life Member of the Professional Association (PEGNL). He is a retired Newfoundland Power Executive. Wallace has been a Member of the Winterton Heritage Advisory Board since 2003 and is an Incorporating Director of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. He makes his home in Winterton and St. John’s.
Robert Belbin, Director
Before retiring in 2018, Robert worked 32 years as co-owner and operator of Belbins Grocery, a retail grocery store that was started by his grandfather in St John’s back in 1943. Prior to his career in the grocery business, Robert worked 13 years as branch manager in St John’s with Daigle Lumber, a Quebec based wholesale building supply distributor.
Robert’s hobbies include woodworking, riding motorcycles and spending time with his wife in their summer home in New Perlican, Trinity Bay. One of the first sounds he heard when they purchased the old house in 1998, was an old ‘make & break’ motorboat coming into the harbour, a beautiful sound that he’s not likely to forget.
Robert and his wife live in St John’s, which works for him because that’s where his grandchildren are.
Lionel Clarke, Director
Lionel Clarke now lives in St. John’s, but had the great good fortune to grow up with wooden boats. Long before the cod moratorium, Lionel, his brother and their friends were allowed to run around loose in Springdale, Twillingate and Carbonear, on the hills, the beaches and the wharves, and out in boat. In those days there were passenger boats and trap skiffs in every harbour, punts at every wharf and stage, and schooners were still a familiar sight. Lionel learned to row before he learned to swim.
After high school in St. John’s Lionel went to Memorial University for a few years, Dalhousie for a few more, and University of Toronto for a few after that, managing to parlay a political science degree into post-grad work in Beijing, China for a couple of adventurous years. Returning to Canada, he went to work in a tire factory for several years, before earning a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.
Practicing labour law, as a staff lawyer for a national public sector trade union, brought Lionel back home to Newfoundland in 1991. He retired from that position in 2007, but retirement didn’t take. He is now working as a public servant in the information and privacy field. Lionel currently lives in St. John’s, spends a lot of his free time playing music with friends, and with his wife Debra, travels to Scotland and other places in Europe as frequently as decently possible. He often wishes he owned a boat.
Raymond Critch, Director
The child of 8 generations of Newfoundland fishermen (on his Father’s side), Raymond Critch stays away from the open water. He likes his wooden boats safely in museums. A graduate of Memorial University (BA Hons 2002, MA 2007), the University of New Brunswick (LLB 2005), and the University of Edinburgh (PhD, 2010), he is a lawyer practicing civil litigation with Goodland Buckingham in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Shakespeare by the Sea Theatre Festival.
Barry Darby, Director
Barry grew up in Burin and fished for seven seasons while obtaining a B.Sc and BA(Ed). A retired Educator, Barry spent most of his career at the College of North Atlantic teaching math and Physics. In the 1990’s he became the Fisheries Adjustment Coordinator for the St. John’s Campus. Volunteer activities include several decades in the union movement in a variety of capacities, nine years as a director on the Capital Coast Development Alliance (zone board for economic development for the NE Avalon) and twelve years as director of the Public Service Credit Union. Barry lives in St. John’s.
Everett Fancey, Director
Everett is a Professional Engineer and retired college administrator. He was born in Bishop’s Falls and spent his early years playing on the banks of the Exploits River. For the river, where he spent his summer days, he had access to family built wooden boats which included a punt, a Gander River boat, and various plywood flats. The Gander River boat was used for excursions out in Notre Dame Bay. To this day, Everett maintains a strong connection to boats and the sea.
After high school, Everett studied engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland and at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, which lead to a career in heavy industry, education and consulting. During an industrial sabbatical from education in the late 70’s, Everett studied automation of the long line cod fishing industry, which lead to worldwide patents for baiting long lining gear.
Everett maintains his connection to industry through an association with a local environmental management firm, and his connection to the ocean with a small, but unfortunately not, wooden boat.
David Gill, Director
Dr. David Gill is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Prior to this position he was a technology education, learning resource, e-learning specialist, science, and social studies teacher for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. As a teacher he worked at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland and Labrador and developed and facilitated many cross-curricular and cross-grade level technology integration projects at the provincial, national, and international level. He has been recognized nationally for his work by being selected as a 2010-11 recipient of the Certificate of Excellence through the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. Throughout his career David has also been very active in developing and implementing various professional development models for teachers and has also received provincial recognition as a Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA) Barnes Award recipient for his work in this area.
In addition to his teaching and professional development roles, David has also been active in curriculum development and re-development for the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education in the area of technology education at the intermediate and secondary level. Currently, David’s research is focusing on factors that help or hinder the teaching of technology education in the Newfoundland context, makerspaces and their potential impact on the design of K-12 learning environments, digital game-based learning, technology enhanced learning environments, and the development of pedagogical content knowledge.
Melvin Green, Director
Melvin is a retired teacher and school administrator. He is the son of a Winterton Boat Builder and was a founding member of the Winterton Heritage Advisory Board that established the Winterton Boat Building and Community Museum in 1997. Melvin was also an Incorporating Director of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. He makes his home in Winterton.
In his spare time, Melvin enjoys singing and writing songs/recitations. His music is a reflection of Newfoundland’s vast and unique cultural heritage.
Lee Hedd is a Naval Architect and business leader with over twenty-five years of experience in managing marine design and Research & Development projects across the globe. Raised just a stone’s throw from the steps of the Wooden Boat Museum in Winterton, Lee grew up surrounded by wooden boats and influenced by the local inshore fishing industry.
His professional experience has ranged from the development of designs and concepts for large high-speed catamaran ferries and novel marine vehicles to the management of hydrodynamic studies for a wide-range of vessels and offshore structures, including winning America’s Cup yachts. Lee has an international reputation for his expertise in design-contraction and has published and presented papers at numerous industry conferences including Mari-Tech, Arctic Technology Conference, Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE), SNAME Maritime Convention, Tugs and Barges, International Conference on Fast Sea Transportation (FAST), Symposium on High Speed Marine Vehicles (HSMV).
Outside of his role as Director of Business Development for Oceanic Consulting Corporation, Lee maintains a keen interest in the development of numerical simulation techniques and their expanding application to Naval Architecture. He is a Naval Architecture graduate of the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and is an active member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), where he has held several executive positions at the Section Level.
Lee enjoys being on the ocean as much as possible and can usually be found on Winterton’s traditional fishing grounds during the annual recreational cod fishery.
Kathie Eaton Paterson
Kathie has always been drawn to wooden boats. Their fluid lines in the water are so elegant and graceful – like part of nature, woods and water. While she grew up around the waters of Baie Verte, Kathie never got to see first-hand the craft of building wooden boats. She could only imagine how each was built.
After graduating from MUN with a Science (Mathematics) and Nursing degrees, Kathie worked in public health for a number of years. When she decided to pursue her Masters in Public Health at University of North Carolina, she did not anticipate meeting her husband and raising two daughters while living in the US. After nearly 30 years, including the last 7 in the “Heartland” of Iowa, Kathie felt the pull of rock and sea.
Upon moving back to Newfoundland, Kathie decided it was time to build a boat. She joined the Wooden Boat Building course at MUN in the winter of 2019 and, along with 11 other fellows under the direction of master boat builder Jerome Canning and coordinator of the workshop Jim Dempsey, helped build a Marcus French rodney – a real beauty! It was a dream come true, and a humbling experience. Kathie looks forward to opportunities to be more involved in the boatbuilding community.
Ray Piercey, Director
Ray Piercey is a Certified Information Systems Professional (ISP) with 30+ years of experience in the area of Information Technology (IT) management. He has extensive experience in the areas of Strategic Planning, Project Management, Contract Management, Policy Development, IT Budgeting, Business/Systems Analysis, Design, Implementation and Programming. Over the years, Ray has been Project Leader for several large-scale IT Projects giving him extensive experience in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
Ray fished 3 cod traps from wooden boats at Hant’s Harbour from June to September 1968 after finishing Grade 11 and before starting Memorial University (MUN).
Ray holds B.Sc. (Mathematics) and B.Ed. (High School) degrees from MUN and an Information Systems Professional (ISP) certification with the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS). Ray and his wife Sandra reside in Paradise and have two grown children, residing in St. John’s, along with one Grandson. Ray and Sandra also maintain the Piercey homestead in Hant’s Harbour which they use as a summer cottage.