The annual Molly Kool Award is gearing up for its fourth edition, celebrating women of Southeastern New Brunswick who have significantly contributed to their community in such areas as arts, culture, conservation, and the environment.
Do you know a phenomenal woman you would like to nominate ? Contact Steve Chrysostom, Executive Director of The Molly Kool Centre by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (506) 654-0553
Molly Kool was born in Alma, New Brunswick, the daughter of Myrtle Anderson and Paul Kool, a Dutch sailor. She grew up sailing, eventually becoming captain of the Jean K, a 21-metre scow owned by her father.
At 21, she joined the Merchant Marine School in Saint John, New Brunswick She was the only woman to do so. On April 19, 1939, she graduated and received her Master Mariner’s papers from the Merchant Marine Institution in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. As a result, a line in the Canadian Shipping Act had to be amended to read “he or she.” Her father turned the title to the scow over to her and she captained it for five years, working mainly the pulp and paper trade in the Bay of Fundy.
In 1944, after her ship caught fire,she left life at sea to marry Ray Blaisdell of Bucksport, Maine. Blaisdell died and she remarried, to John Carney of Orrington, Maine. She eventually retired fully after losing both her legs to a vascular disease.
In 2003, a sailing ship was named in her honour. A monument to her accomplishment was erected near the wharf in Alma. Scheduled in 2011, the home she grew up in is being rebuilt with the original remains and an exhibit is coming to the entrance of Fundy National Park.
She spent her remaining years in a seniors care home in Bangor, Maine. She died from pneumonia in a hospital in Bangor. Her ashes were scattered on the Bay of Fundy at Herring Cove, near her birthplace