Alan Grant Lunn, a lifelong resident of Woods Hole for whom boats and building them were both livelihood and hobby, died August 28 at the age of 91.
He was the son of James Grant Lunn and Hazel (Thorne) Lunn.
After graduating from Lawrence High School in Falmouth, he completed a program in Hyannis at the Barnstable Trade School for Boat Building.
He worked in the local boatyards for a few years, then joined the United States Coast Guard and served on weather patrol out of the Boston base aboard the North Atlantic ship Dexter. He later transferred to the Woods Hole base, where he became a bosun’s mate and operated a 36-foot motor life boat for the remainder of his service.
Mr. Lunn’s father bought the waterfront parcel of the Luscombe property on Little Harbor in the early 1950s, and Alan Lunn helped him construct a dock and marine railway and then ran a boatyard at the harbor for the maintenance of pleasure boats; he had a business of his own in which he built and repaired boats, rented rowboats to the summer tourists and chartered his boat, the Kingfisher, for fishing parties in the local waters of Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay.
He met Joan Winifred Smith of Taunton, and they wed in 1958. Boating was a favorite activity the couple had in common, especially canoeing. “We canoed every river we could up in Maine,” Mr. Lunn said in an interview the year of her death in 2013.
The same year as his marriage, he went to work for the Marine Biological Laboratory Facilities Department and was head caretaker and head of maintenance for all the MBL properties on Devil’s Lane and Memorial Circle in Woods Hole.
After his retirement in 1996, he and his wife lived in the house that he built himself in Sippewissett. In that home, Mr. Lunn crafted a scaled-down replica of the HMS Nimrod—the boat that attacked Falmouth during the War of 1812—in his unfinished basement. The project took eight months and, shortly after the model was completed, Mr. Lunn was featured in a 2013 story in The Falmouth Enterprise for that accomplishment and a discussion about boat building, a slow, tedious process that Mr. Lunn said requires four specific traits: “You need to have the eyes of an eagle, the patience of a saint, the hand skills of a surgeon and the ability to curse like a sailor.”
As an accomplished craftsman, Mr. Lunn had the ability to figure out how to create or build anything he might need and was free with his advice to help others tackling projects of their own.
During the 1990s, Enterprise archives show that Mr. Lunn served as a volunteer in a free program for students in 5th and 6th grades in which they learned how to build a sailboat. Mr. Lunn was an instructor, and contributed his time, tools and supplies to the project.
A member of the board of the Woods Hole Historical Museum and its exhibits committee, in 1999 he donated a boat built from local cedarwood to the Small Boat Museum collection and, the same year, helped build the temporary structure to house the museum’s newest offering, the Small Boat Restoration Outreach Program.
His keen interest in Native American crafts prompted him to make and then present “Building an Aleutian Seal Hunter’s Kayak of Cape Cod Material” in 2002 as the feature of the Woods Hole Historical Museum’s May Conversation program. And, as part of festivities marking the quadricentennial of Bartholomew Gosnold’s landing in Cuttyhunk in 1602, the museum exhibited his replica of Gosnold’s ship, the Concord, that he built that year “on the 400th anniversary of him coming here,” Mr. Lunn said.
Raised in the community of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole, he later moved to the congregation of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Falmouth, where he and his wife were active parishioners. His Christian faith was important to him throughout his life.
He leaves three sons and their spouses, Peter Lunn and Lynne Francis-Lunn of Beverly, James and Susan Lunn of Marion and Jeffrey and Randee Lunn of Medfield; and five grandchildren, Steven Lunn of Beverly, Mya Lunn and Corey Lunn of Marion, and Thomas Lunn and Cameron Lunn of Medfield.
A celebration of the life of Alan Lunn will be at a later date.