When I was born, Marvin Creamer and his brother Richard worked for R. C. Harvey,
Contractor and Builder, in Quinton, NJ. The photo above shows Marvin with his
back to the camera and my grandfather, Ralph, and my father, David, on the scaffold. They were
building the Salem Acme Market in the late thirties.
Marvin was also a close friend of my father's favorite cousin, Ralph Van Meter.
Many think that I was named after my grandfather, but I was actually named after
Ralph Van Meter which my middle name betrays. Most boys of the era were
interested in cars and airplanes, but Marvin and Ralph also liked to sail.
Marvin later founded the Geography Department at Rowan University (formerly known as
Glassboro State College), but he is best known as the only person to have sailed around the world
using no nautical instruments. Ralph Van Meter studied medicine and became a
noted obstetrician in Moorestown, NJ.
I inherited a pile of newspaper clippings about Creamer's voyage from my parents and because I liked
to sail, I decided to pay them a visit in 2000. We had a delightful time talking
about his experiences with Harvey builders, Ralph Van Meter and sailing. They
sold their home in Pitman and moved to the Outer Banks of NC in 2003 about the
same time we retired and bought a home in NJ. I made the website
in 2004 and visited the Creamers in NC in October to scan his
slides for the website. Within a couple of years, people were once more becoming aware of
Marvin Creamer's historical feat.
I tried to get Marvin Creamer's historical voyage recognized by Guinness Book of Records, but received a reply
stating that they were not interested in recognizing that sort of thing.
I requested Creamer's alma mater, Rowan University, to help set up a 25th anniversary celebration in May, or even to
host the event, but leaders of the school showed no interest. I contacted a few of Marvin's friends, and one person,
Phil Miller, offered to help. Several of my siblings and friends also offered to help, so we set about the gigantic
task of planning and carrying out this affair.
I requested and was granted permission to hold the event on May 16, 2009 at Red Bank Battlefield Park, where both the 1982
send-off and 1984 triumphal return took place. I made a large banner and two PowerPoint presentations
about Creamer and the voyage. We provided refreshments and set up displays with newspaper accounts of the voyage from around
the world. Official representatives of Glassboro made speeches and the Director of the Glassboro Museum placed Creamer's now famous
hour glass on display. I arranged for the well-known Original Pitman Hobo Marching Band to give a concert. They agreed, partially because
my Uncle John was one of the band's founders. The concert included several numbers with maritime themes. At 93,
Marvin Creamer gave a fascinating account of his voyage replete with many humorous anecdotes.
It was a lot of work, but the anniversary celebration was a huge success. A local TV station gave me a half-hour
interview and most newspapers covered it; the South Jersey Times did a three-page spread!
We collected many signatures on a petition to get Marvin inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, but the request
was later rejected.
A year or two after that, Marvin Creamer was asked to give a speech at Rowan. Because I created the website and
the 25-year celebration had made him better known, Rowan invited me to attend lunch with Mr. Creamer. We were flying to
California to visit our daughter's family and couldn't attend, but I talked for quite a while with the Secretary
to the President. She asked about my efforts to get Creamer inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. I replied
that the NJHOF said that only dead people were inducted in that category. She was shocked and asked how that was
possible. I then dropped a bombshell and replied, "Rowan University has the same policy. They only honor professors
after they have died." Then I added, "Marvin Creamer said that he won't cooperate!"
Rowan decided to honor Professor Creamer at a special $100-a-plate fundraiser banquet in March, 2013.
It was held in a first class restaurant and the purpose was to establish a Marvin Creamer Scholarship Fund
for promising geography students. I decided to turn the GlobeStar website over to Rowan on that occasion
and received a free ticket. I ordered a ticket for Verna and enclosed a check for $100. Marvin remarried
at 95 after the death of his first wife and we wanted to meet his new bride. The Secretary to the President
called to say that Verna also got a free meal. She would return the check. We said that they should put the
money in the scholarship fund.
The fundraiser was a total success. Marvin was honored and at 99, he gave a speech that kept guests on the edge of
their seat. The University had me stand while they thanked me for all my work to get recognition for Creamer.
When we looked at the fancy program that was placed on every seat, Verna Harvey was listed as a charter donor
to the Creamer Scholarship Fund! Ever since, she has been receiving letters to graduates and friends of Rowan