When boatbuilder Jarvis Newman, third from right, was presented with a Remember ME Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this month in Augusta, several family members celebrated with him. From left, Tim Kearns, Kim Newman Kearns, Claire Kearns, Sue Newman, Sarah Falt and Kathe Newman Walton. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEWMAN FAMILY

Newman recognized for lifetime achievement

BAR HARBOR — Jarvis Newman, a longtime Southwest Harbor boatbuilder, has won the Remember ME Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by the Maine Health Care Association.

This award honors residents living in long-term care facilities in Maine. Newman now lives at Birch Bay Retirement Village and suffers from dementia, but his name and brand continues to remain well-known worldwide for the timeless and beautiful Downeast yachts he built.

At the association’s annual event on April 14, Newman, along with other Lifetime Achievement honorees, were recognized in a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center.

A plaque was presented to Newman by first lady Anne LePage. Displays at the event featured black-and-white photographs of the recipients accompanied by brief biographies of fascinating and innovative residents living in Maine’s long-term care facilities.

Newman, the only award winner this year from Hancock County, grew up in Southwest Harbor and followed in the footsteps of a long line of boatbuilders and fishermen. After attending school at the Wentworth Institute of Technology and working in the jet engine department at General Electric, Newman, along with his wife, Susan Bunker, and their two daughters, returned to Southwest Harbor.

A young Jarvis Newman rowing one of his classic fiberglass skiffs. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEWMAN FAMILY

Newman began his career in boatbuilding by working in the fiberglass department at Hinckley Yachts. He started making his own molds from a locally built rowboat and, soon after, made his first Friendship sloop mold, which led to the development of one of the first fiberglass Friendship sloops. Seeing the potential for fiberglass boats, Newman began building 36-foot hulls designed by Raymond Bunker, his father-in-law. Other notable projects include working with Ralph Stanley, another MDI builder, who designed a 32-foot model, which Newman also built in solid fiberglass. Additionally, the Newman family Friendship sloop, the 31-foot Dictator, a 1904 Robert McLain built sloop, became the model for a second Friendship sloop mold. The Royal Lowell and Eliot Spalding-designed 46-foot and 38-foot models completed the fleet of Newman hulls.

After selling the boatbuilding business in 1979, Newman opened a brokerage business selling both used and new boats until 2016, when his daughter Kathe Newman Walton bought the business and property.

In addition to boatbuilding, Newman and his family have enjoyed sailing Friendship sloops, Bullseyes and operating various powerboats.


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