It is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) received the news that long-time SBMM docent and volunteer Dave Denniston passed away right before the Christmas holiday. His passing is a great loss for the SBMM family.

Dave began volunteering at SBMM even before we opened our doors. He worked in our Preview Center (where the SBMM Museum Store is now located), showing visitors what our future exhibits would look like, and generating interest and support for the museum.

Some readers may have met Dave when he volunteered at the SBMM kiosk and welcomed visitors to the fourth-floor Outdoor Visitor Center. For many years, he was also a Ranger volunteer, helping to decorate the boat for the annual Parade of Lights.

But perhaps most of all, Dave was a big part of our education programming, bringing museum activities to Santa Barbara’s elementary school Science Nights, welcoming Santa Barbara’s 4th-graders to their overnight experience on the Spirit of Dana Point, leading tours for visitors of all ages.

Wherever there was a need for volunteers, Dave was there and, in 2014, Dave was one of five long-time volunteers honored at SBMM’s annual fundraiser and received the praise of his long-time friends at the museum.

“What I will miss most about David is his sense of humor, his love of all things maritime, and how he always corrected me when I messed up my nautical terms,” said Greg Gorga, SBMM executive director.

“He was a gentleman and a huge part of SBMM family,” said Don Barthelmess, president of the Board of Directors. “I always enjoyed his presence at so many SBMM events and remain inspired by his volunteer spirit and kindness. He will be missed but not soon forgotten.”

Eight bells for our friend, David Denniston.

A celebration of life will be held, 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way. All are welcome to attend.

— Rita Serotkin for Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.