Frank Pemberton, retired to be sailor

August 15, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Frank A. Pemberton Jr., a retired New England-based consultant in fund raising and for many years a Caribbean sailor, was found dead in his Baltimore home on Wednesday. Family members said the cause of death was heart failure. He was 73.

Mr. Pemberton, a Boston native, graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in 1937. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in English in 1942.

He joined the Army and received a Bronze Star during the invasion of Normandy.

After military service, he worked five years as the first arts editor of the Providence (R.I.) Journal. In 1954, he left the newspaper to direct the news service for Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

In 1959, Mr. Pemberton began what would become his main career, working as a fund-raiser for Lavin & Co. in Boston and living in Wenham, Mass.

After seven years with the firm, he became an independent fund-raising consultant whose clients included the American Repertory Theater, the Retina Foundation, Wellesley College and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

After retiring in 1982, Mr. Pemberton left Manchester, Mass., where he and his family had moved in 1970, and lived aboard his 33-foot-long sailboat. He called the boat Te Ora, Polynesian for "The Life."

His voyages, sometimes solo, took him to the Caicos Islands and St. Bartholomew's in the West Indies, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and other places.

His wife of 33 years, the former Eudora Handy, sometimes accompanied him on his voyages, but usually stayed ashore to maintain the couple's various homes. Shedied in 1980.

While in his 60s, Mr. Pemberton learned to play the flute and enjoyed playing in the Treasure Coast Flute Choir in Stuart, Fla., where he anchored his boat between short sailing trips during the four years before he moved to Baltimore about 18 months ago.

Mr. Pemberton spent four months in the early 1980s traveling the French countryside, where he learned to speak the language fluently.

When his health began to decline, Mr. Pemberton moved to be closer to a daughter, Mary Pemberton of Baltimore.

.5l Other survivors include two sons, Peter Pemberton of Sitka, Alaska, and Christopher Pemberton of Two Rivers, Alaska; another daughter, Constance Glore of West Boxford, Mass.; a sister, Ann Bates of Albuquerque, N.M.; and two grandchildren. Another daughter, Leonora Pemberton of Boston, died in 1979.

Private services will be conducted in Boston this month.

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