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February 16, 2010     Cape Gazette
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February 16, 2010

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Cape Gazette Cape Life TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2010 11 Lighthouse foundation' 90-year-)ld Spencer born in Delaware lighthouse Harry S. Spencer Jr. is one of the few remaining Delawareans - perhaps the only one - who was born and raised in Delaware lighthouses. Recently, Spencer marked his 90th birthday, and the Delaware River & Bay Light- house Foundation celebrated the occasion with a party in his hon- or. Spencer is a member of the board of directors of the founda- tion and one of its most active volunteers. He still works as a guide on tours of Harbor of Refuge and Delaware Breakwa- ter East End lighthouses and helps out with the upkeep of the lights. In addition, hundreds of Sus- sex residents and visitors have come to know Spencer by at- tending one of the many presen- tations where he talks about his life growing up in a lighthouse and explains the historic impor- tance of lighthouses in general. Spencer and his friend Jim Baz- zoli have given these talks at the Cape Henlopen State Park Na- ture Center and at senior centers, schools, civic organizations and historical societies throughout Delaware. Spencer was born in the resi- dence at Liston Range Rear Light near Biddle's Corner while his fa- ther, Harry S. Spencer Sr., was keeper there. Spencer Sr. record- ed his son's arrival in the official keepers' log for the station: ' son born to Keeper's wife at 3 aan. The baby's weight, 8 lbs." A year later, he also noted his son's first birthday in the government records. Spencer Jr. spent his entire childhood at the rear light station and at Liston Range Front Light- house at Bayview Beach. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army, spending World War II with the Signal Corps in Aus- tralia. Upon returning to the United States in 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy B. Shivery, fulfilling a pact the two had made to wait for each other. Mrs. Spencer died in 2003. Spencer moved to Lewes as a full-time resident when he retired from the old Delmarva Power & Light Co. During the birthday celebra- tion at The Captain's Table Restaurant in Rehoboth, the foundation presented Spencer with a framed poster picturing his late-life lighthouse adven- tures as a volunteer and numer- ous greetings and tributes from friends and dignitaries. Typical of those messages was a letter from Dennis Reidenbach, Northeast regional director of the National Park Service, which administers the National His- toric Lighthouse Preservation Act. Reidenback said Spencer is "a guiding light for all of us of every age as you continually give back to your community and preserve a part of America's her- itage for future genemtionsY He called Spencer "the living embodiment" of the goals of the historic lighthouse preservation program established by Con- gress in 2000 and a "loyal and dedicated partner in these preservation efforts." Other tributes and best wishes were received from President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; U.S. Rep. Mike Castle; Gov. Jack Markell and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn; the Delaware State Senate in a tribute sponsored by Sen. E Gary SUBMITTED PHOTO HARRY S. SPENCER JR., teft, reads an official tribute from the Senate of the 145th General Assembly of Delaware thanking him for his "tireless efforts to preserve the heritage of Delaware's lighthouses." With him is his son Steve Spencer of Pawlet, Vt. Son Larry Spencer of Landenberg, Pa., was also on hand for Harry's 90th birth- day party given by the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation board of direc- tors. Simpson, R-Milford; Lewes May- Lewes Historical Society; and or James L. Ford III; the Lewes former lighthouse foundation Chamber of Commerce; the President Bob Trapani. Saltwater Portrait )) Milton artist inspired by nostalgic scenes Small town life attracts Aurelio Grisan00 By Kevin Spence hen graphic artist Aurelio Gritty moved to Re: hoboth.Beach, he searched for vintage artwork with a local twist to outfit his beach house. Unable to f'md any- .. thing, he thought tomake his own. Grisanty photographed kites flying over Rehoboth Beach and sunlight glinting upon idyllic Sil- ver Lake. After adding his own touches using software, he had soon found a home for the retro- vintage posters. "I framed them and realized these look really good. I took them to galleries in town and they bought them," he said. Grisanty sits by the fireplace in his Milton home. Two years ago, looking for more space and tranquility, he moved from Re- hoboth Beach to Wagamon's West Shores. With a pond be- hind his home, sunlight streams into his living room-studio. In his dining room, Grisanty draws at a desk and paints near his back deck. "The light in this house is really fantastic," he says, with a slight accent. Grisanty, 60, graduated from the University of Mexico in Mexico City, where he studied art. He then returned to the Do-  can Repflblic where he was born. For 10 years, he worked as a graphic designer. He said, growing up, his family used mis- matched silverware and odd bits of furniture, taken from his fami- ly's city homes, to use in their vacation home on the coast. The internationally trained artist said vintage French travel posters used to line the walls of his grandparents' beach house, which provided inspiration for his new posters. "In the '80s, the economy started falling in the Dominican Republic. I came to Washington by accident, with a friend," he said. "Washington in 1984 was very much a small town with slow traffic. Besides, it's as splendid, as beautiful as Paris," he said. He fell in love with Washing- ton, so he moved to D.C., where KEVIN SPENCE PHOTO AUREI.IO GRISANTY stands before a poster he made of Milton. He's also work- ing on a Milton coloring book. he established an art studio. Soon he began vacationing in Rehoboth Beach - an area which also reminded him in many ways of his childhood. For 20 years, he worked in his studio, discovering the city's mu- seums. For TenPenh, a D.C. restaurant at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., Grisanty painted a female Buddha. He also painted an im- age of Spanish screenwriter Pe- dro Almodovar and a flamenco dancer for the laleo restaurants in the D.C. area. Searching for more tranquility and attracted by the nature-rich scenery the Cape Region offers, Grisanty settled on a home near Wagamons Pond. Grisanty's friend, Walter Gagliano, de- signed his West Shore Drive home, featured in the 2009 Mil= ton Garden Tour. "Little did I know I was going to love it," he said. With his artist's eye for archi- tecture, Milton has become an inspiration that is reflected in his artwork. Grisanty has designed 57 posters, mostly of American beach towns. But among his newest images are scenes of his adopted hometown, Milton, and its bridges, waterways and his- torie homes. He's also working on a Milton coloring book. A member of the Milton Gar- den Club and Milton Historical Society, Grisanty said when he's not painting, he likes to read his- torical biographies and classic novels. He can often be seen rowing in Wagamons Pond in his 16- foot, flat-bottom canoe, dining on the lake. "I love Milfon's peace and qui- et, the landscape and the people. Everyone's been wonderful that I've met," he said. Referring to a small pond be- hind his home, he gestures with his hand and furrows his eye- brow, discussing his new series based on Cape Region water- ways. "If I live long enough and die here, I will have a stone with my name on it, Aurelio Grisanty, by that pond," he says.