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Guest Speaker Biographies

Meet some of our Chapter Guest Speakers. They each bring a unique blend of knowledge about lighthouses and their history and keepers.

Sandy CluniesSandy Clunies is certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists as a Certified Genealogist. She serves as Chapter Historian and sits on the Board of Directors.

Some of her presentations include: Lighthouse Families - Original records in National Archives reveal fascinating facts about these federal employees. Featured areas include New England, Chesapeake Bay, Florida, Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast. From Sea to Shining Sea: Lighthouse Genealogy - New research in unique unfilmed records at the National Archives with several lecture options: Women Light keepers in the Civil War, Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses, and Lighthouse Families of (select from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York).

Tom WadeTom Wade is a Board Member and the Education Coordinator for the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. He has had an interest in lighthouses and lighthouse history for more than 40 years. He developed the Chapter’s Lighthouse Education Program in 2000 for presentations in elementary (grades 4-6) and middle schools in the Chesapeake Bay region. In addition to conducting the program at schools in the region, a modified presentation has been given for museums, senior centers, and various civic groups. He is a member of a number of lighthouse societies and is active in lighthouse preservation, including the restoration of our priceless Fresnel lenses. He volunteers as a docent/tour guide at several Mid-Atlantic lighthouses. His programs focus, in varying degrees, on the design and construction of lighthouses, timeline of development of the different styles of lighthouses in the Chesapeake Bay, lighthouse history, keepers’ lifestyle and Fresnel lenses. He can modify his program to meet the needs or interest of the audience; this could extend to the region or lighthouses they would like covered, e.g., lighthouses of New Jersey, Rhode Island, or the Great Lakes.

Henry GonzalezHenry Gonzalez is the Vice President for East Coast Operations of the United States Lighthouse Society, and the President of its Chesapeake Chapter. Henry has been an active leader in the non-profit lighthouse community for 10 years. He was the Secretary of the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee from its inception in 1997 until 2004, and he served as a member of the National Lighthouse Museum Steering Committee in 1997. He and his wife, Chris, have visited over 300 lighthouses in the United States and abroad. Henry has lighthouses in his blood. His great-great grandfather was a lighthouse keeper on the north coast of Spain between 1863 and 1904, and he has a third cousin who is currently a lighthouse keeper there.

Henry was the driving (lighthouse) force behind the establishment of a unique partnership with the City of Annapolis, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and Anne Arundel County to pursue ownership of Thomas Point Shoal lighthouse, and he was the primary author and coordinator of the successful application. Henry and Chris have three children and five grandchildren; the youngest are 3-year old twin boys which are being trained as future lighthouse preservationists. Henry does all his lighthouse work as a volunteer; in his “day job”, he is a federal executive.

To find out more about our education programs or to book a speaker for your next function, please contact the Chapter at speakers@cheslights.org.

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