A memorial to Mattie Mosher is planned for Labor Day weekend aboard the schooner she loved and with which she shared a name. Mattie, who passed away in July, made her first windjammer trip in 1939 aboard the schooner Grace Bailey, which up until 1990 was known as the Mattie.

The following is from the newsletter of the Maine Windjammer Cruises.

We are sad to announce the passing of our dear friend Mattie Mosher on July 23, 2011. Born Feb. 17, 1914 in Jersey City, N.J., she made her first windjammer trip in 1939. Hooked on the experience, she returned annually for many years often reuniting with friends made aboard. Undoubtedly, she was the life of the party. Eventually, she met and fell in love with her husband Malcolm. When they married they moved to Hope to be closer to the schooners that they continued to enjoy.

Eventuall,y family obligations made it difficult for them to sail regularly but they often went down to Camden Harbor to see the schooners and reminisce about the good times aboard. Later, when Malcolm’s health began to decline and they were unable to sail together, he told Mattie he would come back as a seagull and that she should think of him whenever she saw one.

After Malcolm died Mattie returned to the schooners and again began to make regular trips, sometimes multiple trips each year. Whenever a seagull would soar in the air currents above the mainsail or settle down for a rest on the strongback Mattie would say: “There’s Malcolm. He’s come to sail with me again.” And each time we passed Pumpkin Island she would tell everyone that it was their favorite spot.

Well into her 60s, Mattie showed a youthful exuberance that kept her as the life of the party. Her endless stories, laughter and practical jokes kept everyone amused. Often the party did not end when the cruise returned to Camden because there was always an open invitation to return to Mattie’s “mountain side motel.” She kept in touch with dozens of shipmates for years and years. “When is Mattie going” was a question often asked when a reservation was made.

One of the stories she never forgot to tell was how she paid only $35 for her first cruise back in the day. This inspired a customer appreciation celebration when we completed the restoration of the Grace Bailey. We called it reunion cruising and passengers sail for the cost of their first Windjammer Cruise. By this time Mattie was regularly sailing three times a year, the first trip, race week and the last trip of the season. Mattie called and said: “I can’t possibly pay only $35 for a week’s cruise. That won’t even cover the cost of food.” “Sorry Mattie that’s the deal,” was the reply. “We can’t have you upsetting our promotion.” That year Mattie sailed five times!

This year marks the 75th anniversary of our company and to celebrate the milestone we produced a book, “Keeping the Tradition Alive,” telling the history of Maine Windjammer Cruises. A copy is being given to all passengers who sail this season. No history of this company would be complete without mention of Mattie Mosher, “Our favorite long time passenger.” Primarily a picture book there is a page dedicated to Mattie.

As were her wishes, her ashes will be spread from the Grace Bailey at Pumpkin Island. The memorial cruise will sail Labor Day Weekend and is reserved for family and friends who knew and loved her. The cruise, which will coincide with Windjammer Weekend, will begin with a day sail leaving Camden at 1 p.m. Friday and returning by 5 p.m. After returning to the dock, a surf and turf dinner will be served. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., local friends are invited join us aboard the Grace Bailey to spend an evening in celebration of Mattie’s life with pictures and stories and maybe a toast or two.

On Saturday morning at 9 a.m. there will be a brief service and bon voyage for those unable to make the cruise to Pumpkin Island. The Grace Bailey will return to Camden on Sunday morning. To offset costs, accommodations for this cruise will be offered at one half of our normal rates. Other weekend passengers not associated with Mattie will be accommodated on the Mercantile and the Mistress.

Anyone whose life has been touched by this very special person is invited to join us for all or part of this memorial weekend. Those unable to attend may send cards and well wishes to P.O. Box 617, Camden, ME 04843. They will be shared by those aboard.

Mattie’s enthusiasm and spirit of camaraderie have always made her a grand shipmate. She was the inspiration for the Old Salts Club, founded for our repeat sailors, and with more 100 trips she holds its highest rank. It is with great pride, fondness and a touch of sorrow that we embark on this farewell cruise to honor the memory of this great lady.