Harry B. Duane 3rd died on June 19 in Shelburne, Vt., following a long illness. He was 80.
Mr. Duane, a well-known resident of Vineyard Haven for many years, was a distinguished sailor with the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club and the Holmes Hole Sailing Association. He loved to sail, compete on the water and teach sailing skills to others.
Born in Boston, Harry graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1950. He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and spent part of his tour in Germany. After his military service, he returned to school and graduated from MIT in 1957. While at MIT he was the captain of the swimming team, Phi Beta Kappa, and won the Karl Taylor Compton Prize, the Institute’s highest award, in recognition of excellent achievements in citizenship and devotion to the welfare of MIT.
He spent his entire business career with Norton Company, a leading abrasives company in Worcester. With an extraordinary gift for financial, operational and general management, he quickly assumed a leadership role through successive business development assignments, including a two-year stint to rebuild the company’s operations in Milan, Italy in 1964-1965. As vice president for Worldwide Operations and, later as executive vice president he led strategic initiatives in Australia, India, Japan, South Africa, Brazil and across North America and Europe.
Harry’s presence was renowned in the Island sailing community. At the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, he was on the board of governors for many years and served twice as the club’s commodore. His management ability helped steer the club through several financial challenges. He gave priority to the club’s future and its Junior Sailing Program. In 2004 he was honored as the recipient of the Hugh W. Schwarz Lifetime Contribution Award.
The Duane family set a fast pace in competitive sailing. Each of his children was successful in New England sailing and their father was a repeated winner aboard Andiamo, a Vineyard Haven 15, and later in his Soling, Andiamo II. He also brought leadership to the Holmes Hole Sailing Association, where he held many offices and where he has the rare distinction of being a two-time winner of the annual Moffett Race.
Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Audrey Duane of Shelburne, Vt., his three children, Charles Duane and wife Patricia of Marion, Marion Duane Hammond and husband Bob of Vineyard Haven and Paul Duane and wife Ellen of Burlington, Vt., their mother, Natalie Dickinson King, of Vineyard Haven, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Interment will be private. His ashes will be placed near a favorite place at his and Audie’s property in Dalton, N.H.
Those wishing to contribute to his memory may do so through Sail Martha’s Vineyard, PO Box 1998, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568.