Henry P. Bakewell Jr.

May 25, 1937December 21, 2012

Henry Palmer Bakewell, Jr.

Henry Palmer Bakewell, Jr., noted nautical engineer, expert sailor, train enthusiast and devoted father, died December 21 at Yale-New Haven Hospital after a sudden and brief illness. He was 75 and lived in Old Saybrook, CT.

Mr. Bakewell was born May 25, 1937 in West Hartford, CT, the son of Henry Palmer Bakewell and Hester Adams Bakewell. He graduated from Groton School in 1955, from Yale University with a BA degree in Mathematics in 1959 and an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1961, and from the Pennsylvania State University with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering in 1966.

He joined the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory in 1961, where he conducted studies of turbulent flow noise. Subsequently his career included responsibility for several submarine programs to characterize and reduce hull array self-noise, initiation of thinline towed array efforts and development of wavenumber analysis techniques for sonar self-noise.

He was a nationally and internationally recognized expert in towed and hulled array hydroacoustics, and for his achievements was recognized with the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. Mr. Bakewell retired in 1996 as the Head of the Towed Arrays Division of Naval Underseas Weapons Center in New London, CT.

Known by his friends for his gentle kindness and soft-spoken wit, Mr. Bakewell was accomplished in numerous pursuits and hobbies. An expert sailor, he loved being on the water, owning and sailing a variety of boats, including the sloop Sixpence and most recently his Cape Dory Born Free. In 1977, he and his crew placed first in their division in the Marion Bermuda Race. He was a longtime member and former president of the Dauntless Club in Essex, CT, as well as founder and ardent supporter of the North Cove Yacht Club in Old Saybrook, CT.

Mr. Bakewell had a lifelong passion for trains and railroad history. In addition to delighting his children and grandchildren with intricate model train layouts at home, he served as both Train Conductor and Train Master for the Valley Railroad Company, home of the Essex Steam Train, in Essex, CT. As Train Master, he developed the training program that taught the essentials to future brakeman and flagman while also imparting his wisdom and energy as a mentor.

Mr. Bakewell was devoted to Groton School, and was an active alumnus, including recently participating on a panel of distinguished Groton alumni for a discussion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives with alumni and current students.

The last year of his life was filled with great joy. In May 2012, he celebrated his 75th birthday with a planked shad dinner surrounded by family at the Dauntless Club. Accompanied by his loving companion of 13 years, Carolyn Barter, he sailed and traveled extensively throughout the year, including sails to New London for the Tall Ships Festival and to Mystic Seaport as part of the Labor Day North Cove Yacht Club cruise, along with a travel excursion to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to his extensive Valley Railroad commitments, he also found time to volunteer at Mystic Seaport, repairing and maintaining their small craft fleet. Most recently, on December 1, he hosted family and friends in the Essex Steam Train’s parlor car for an evening ride on the “North Pole Express”. His family described a festive atmosphere, replete with stories and carols, as he showed off his family to admiring Valley Railroad colleagues. For a quiet, thoughtful man, reserved in his emotions, he was clearly swelled with pride and having a wonderful time amidst the warmth of family and friends.

Mr. Bakewell was predeceased by his wife, Elsie-Ives Goodrich Bakewell, as well as a sister, Hester (Sandy) Bakewell. He is survived by a brother, Charles Bakewell of Earlysville, VA; a sister, Sarah Haines of Waterbury, CT; his companion, Carolyn Barter of Old Saybrook, CT; four daughters, Nancy Roberts of Gales Ferry, CT, Margaret Eldredge of Old Saybrook, CT, Lucy Bakewell-Barnes of Centerbrook, CT and Ann Woodward of Bedford Corners, NY; four son-in-laws; six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

The memorial service will be on Saturday, January 26 at 11:30am at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 82 Shore Road in Old Lyme, CT. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Groton School, P.O. Box 991, Groton, MA 01450; Valley Railroad Company, P.O. Box 452, Essex, CT 06426; or North Cove Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program, P.O. Box 298, Old Saybrook, CT 06475. Arrangements are with Swan Funeral Home, 1224 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 26, 2013

Henry P. Bakewell Jr.

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Willi and Carolyn Lintelmann

January 9, 2013

Dear Bakewell family, Willi and I have fond memories of parties, picnics and time spent with your Dad and Mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

January 2, 2013

Dear Bakewell Family:
Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of your loved one.
Please seek the strength that only God can give at a time such as this.
Loleeta Fontes

David Peters

January 1, 2013

A true gentle-man who mentored many and is missed. I will have you with me on every trip. You left us so unexpectedly that I never told him, "Thanks." May the good Lord wrap his loving arms around you and hold you secure.

December 29, 2012

I had the honor of being taught the jobs of Flagman, Brakeman and Trainman at the Valley Railroad by Henry. And right up to the last, I was his brakeman on the North Pole Express 1 Trains for a couple of weeks. Thank you for being a great instructor, leader and for being there to talk to on those long cold back up moves. I will miss you.
~Greg Kent

December 29, 2012

God Bless You Henry

Francine Wohl

December 29, 2012

Heaven definitely has a new angel ~ I will surely miss Henry at the Railroad. May he rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to the family~

Paul A. Lewis

December 29, 2012

Henry and I often had the opportunity to speak of his love of trollies and the Valley Railroad. We often entertained each other with math problems, railroad trivia and the rules governing railroad operation. He was always willing to offer a helpful opinion to the new members of the train crew as well as many of us old timers. Henry's kindness and soft spoken humor will be greatly missed. The great roundhouse in the heavens will benefit from having Henry as part of the crew now. May God bless all those left behind and may Henry's example of how to live life, be our challenge.

Paul Goodman

December 29, 2012

I am still in shock that my mentor and guide at the Valley Railroad is no longer going to be with us. Henry was ALWAYS an even tempered joy to work with and I know train and engine crews and all of the rest of the Valley Railroad Family will truly miss his physical presence - his spirit will be with us forever.

December 28, 2012

To Henry's Family,
Henry spent many days with me this summer at the Valley Railroad Company helping me with flagman, brakeman, and trainman qualifications. He had a wonderful personality, and passed along his knowledge with patience. I will miss you Henry.
J. Barry Alexander

Tom and Pat Hudson

December 28, 2012

Rest in peace, Henry! We will miss you.