MY CONNECTION TO MARVIN C. CREAMER

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 www.globestar.org 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 requesting donations.


Other Pages:

About the vessel, Globe Star
About the Voyage
Accolades
Celebrations
Photo Gallery
A History Lesson
My Connection to Marvin Creamer
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