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Maritime Museum exhibit profiles Captain O'Daniel

READ MORE: Maritime Museum exhibit profiles Captain O'Daniel
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The story of Captain John Wesley O'Daniel Jr. began in Southport, and its there he chose to be remembered. In August, O'Daniel died at the age of 84. A long-time benefactor and friend of the Maritime Museum, O'Daniel willed it some of his personal effects. Old medals, notebooks, pictures and more, chronicle his many adventures on the high seas, and are on display for visitors to see and learn about his life on the water and his love for his work. Zach Zuehlke of the North Carolina Maritime Museum said, “As you go through the exhibit and look at the books, you get a sense of what his interests were what he studied, what he liked and what he also thought we would like and share with us.” The exhibit sails through John D's journey. It tells the story of his childhood in Southport and his days as a student at the Merchant Marine Academy. Mr. Zuehlke said, “We were just so excited here and we wanted to share those things with the public this time of year.” Growing up Southport, a city with a rich maritime history, the water called to him. O'Daniel was a tug boat captain, a serviceman on a liberty ship in world war two, and a Panama Canal pilot. When a pilot would take a ship through the canal, the crew would give him a cup and saucer. Two of John D's are on display. Most of the pieces on exhibit are rare; not necessarily costly, but priceless to Southport's history. Mr. Zuehlke explained, “I think that John O'Daniel typifies Old Southport… the type of person who grew up here, who loved it, who had great friends here for 50, 60 years here.” The John D. exhibit runs through next week at the Maritime Museum on Howe Street.

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