Ernie DeRaps, 91

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Ernie DeRaps Catching Your Memories

On October 15, 1955, on the advice of his young wife Pauline, Ernie DeRaps joined the Coast Guard. A year later, one night after she’d tucked their one-year-old son into bed, Ernie asked her how’d she like to live in a lighthouse 10 miles off the coast of Maine on Monhegan Island.

In a book that Ernie and Pauline co-authored years later, Pauline wrote, “Yes, I said. Let’s do it. It will be something different. We can write our memoirs about living in a lighthouse and any experiences we have. I will miss being near my parents, but we do what we have to do.”

The DeRaps family ended up living in three Maine lighthouses:

  • Monhegan Island Light
  • Fort Point Lighthouse in Stockton Springs
  • Browns Head Lighthouse on Vinalhaven Island

Ernie was also a lighthouse keeper at a solitary assignment:

  • Stag Lighthouse at Heron Neck

They went on to have six children, although not all of them got to enjoy the adventures of living in a lighthouse.

Ernie and Pauline wrote about their lighthouse experiences in a delightful and interesting back-to-back double book called:

  • Lighthouse Keeping by Ernest DeRaps
  • Light Housekeeping by Pauline Fitzgerald DeRaps

The book is available on Ernie’s website Pigment ART and on Amazon.

Standing in front of Ernie’s lighthouse paintings. (He’s painted all 65 of Maine’s lighthouses)

I had the pleasure of chatting with Ernie at his home in Richmond recently. Pauline passed away a few years ago and he lives alone now, but his children and grandchildren live nearby. At 91, he may move a little more slowly than he used to, but he still keeps busy and he still has lots of stories to tell. I know you’ll enjoy the stories he told during our conversation.

Listen to my conversation with Ernie

Where else you can find and subscribe to the podcast

Read a transcript of our conversation

Some more pictures

Painting of Browns Head Light House
Painting of Portland Head Light
Ernie at the age of 18
Ernie with his late wife Pauline in 2012
Ernie with his daughter Patti
Ernie’s most recent painting
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