Meet: Fred Meendsen, Board Emeritus
Fred Meendsen grew up boating on Manhasset Bay near Long Island, NY. His first connection to the Chesapeake Bay was during a family road trip from New Jersey to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Fred and his wife, Nancy, passed through the Eastern Shore and immediately fell in love with this part of the world. “Nancy and I are lovers of Georgian and colonial architecture: Chestertown, Centreville, and Easton all made very favorable, lasting impressions on us.”
Fred and Nancy began visiting the Shore regularly. They solidified their connection to the Chesapeake Bay and the area when they chartered a sloop out of Rock Hall. Fred fondly remembers anchoring for an evening in front of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s 1879 Hooper Straight Lighthouse. He jokes, “Little did I know at the time what was in store for me!”
Nearing retirement from a hard-charging corporate career, Fred was very concerned with staying active. Retiring to St. Michaels, Fred knew CBMM was the perfect fit, especially given his love of the water and boating, and joined the Museum as a volunteer. In the early 90s, he focused his efforts on the Museum’s Annual Fund drive, and was very soon elected to the Board of Governors. Fred was incredibly active during his service, serving on the 2000 Capital Campaign committee, the first chair of the Governance committee, and served as both Vice-Chair and Chairman of the Board. Following his second year as Board Chair, he was elected Trustee Emeritus.
Fred believes that CBMM’s greatest contribution is the preservation of the history of the Chesapeake Bay, and the education programs that present this history to children and adults alike. He sees the Museum’s greatest strength as being the talent and dedication of the staff, volunteers, and Boards. “It has been over two decades since I asked [then CBMM President] John Valliant if there were volunteer opportunities at CBMM. At that time I liked the Museum. In the ensuing years I have fallen in love with the place. It has been a blessing to see it continue to grow in mission, programs, facilities, and very talented staff. It has been an honor to be associated with so many great volunteers, and I have been very lucky to be among their number.”
CBMM would like to thank Fred for his time and dedication to the Museum!