WHOI  WHOI People  

In Memoriam: Hugh Brennan Dakers Sr.

Hugh Brennan Dakers Sr.

Media Relations Office

media@whoi.edu

January 25, 2011

(508) 289-3340

The Institution has received word of the death of retiree Hugh Brennan Dakers Sr., on January 19, surrounded by his family at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine.  He was 83.

Hugh was born in Port Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 6, 1927, the son of David Paton and Ann Brennan Dakers.

Hugh and his family arrived in the United States on the SS Transylvania in 1929, and after a period of time settled in Jamaica Plain and Milton, Mass. He graduated from the English High School of Boston in 1944, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1956, having earned an Associate Degree in Food Distribution and History. In 1950, Hugh enlisted in the United States Army and served as a sergeant until he transferred to the USAR, Ready Reserve. During his time in service to his country, he participated in the Pacific Proving Ground nuclear testing program. In the Army, Hugh discovered an interest in the culinary arts and after his honorable discharge he went on to be the head chef at many notable inns, clubs, and resorts.

Hugh was the head chef for a number of years at the Sprucewold Lodge, the Spruce Point Inn, the Sparhawk Resort, the Islesboro Inn, the Sugarloaf Inn and Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, to name just a few. In the 1960s, Hugh was the Food Service Director for both Governor Dummer Academy and St. Francis College, now the University of New England. At the college, Hugh was also the ice hockey coach. This experience led to his sons' and grandsons' interest in the sport. They all used to gather on 'the pond' for hours of outdoor hockey games.

Hugh began his career at WHOI in 1972 as steward aboard the Atlantis II.  He served on a number of other WHOI vessels including the Chain, Oceanus, and the Knorr as steward. He retired in 1994.

He made many lifelong friends at Woods Hole including several of the captains who continued to make annual trips to Maine to visit with him. His overseas travels with the WHOI heightened his interest in travel and he visited over 70 countries and all seven continents including Antarctica. While he was on one research trip to Antarctica on the R/V Hero, which was a wooden hull ship built in Maine, he was honored to receive an island named after the family: Dakers Island.

Hugh enjoyed traveling, particularly back to his home country of Scotland.  He also enjoyed reading history, trivia, skiing, and old movies. Growing up in and around Boston helped insure he was a loyal Boston sports fan. He was known for his good sense of dry humor which he kept right through to the end.

Hugh is survived by his former wife, Helga Dunbar and her husband Carl; three sons, Hugh B. Dakers Jr. of Kennebunkport, ME; Scott D. Dakers of Scarborough, ME; and Dana O. Dakers of Kennebunkport, ME; five grandchildren, Trevor, Adam, Michael, Elizabeth and Christopher; one great- grandchild, Gauge; and several extended family members in the Boston area. Hugh was also fond of his daughters-in-law, Karen (predeceased), Jane and Barbara; and his two nieces, Sarah and Margaret Osgood. He was predeceased by his sister, Betsy. He was also very fond of his aunt Anne and uncle Alec.

The Dakers family would like to thank the nursing staff of Southern Maine Medical Center and the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, for all of their support, kindness and expert care.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., with a brief period of reflection and memories at 5:00 p.m., at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St., Kennebunk, ME, with a reception to follow at Alisson's Restaurant in Kennebunkport.  There will be a private burial in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston. Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel.

Hugh was a loyal supporter of the Animal Welfare Society, where he rescued several wonderful old dogs, as well as a regular patron at Graves Library. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to: The Animal Welfare Society, P.O. Box 43,West Kennebunk, Maine 04094; and the Louis T. Graves Memorial Library, P.O. Box 391,Kennebunkport, Maine 04046.

Information for this obituary was taken from the Portland Press Herald.

Originally published: January 25, 2011