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Eight Bells: Edwin Arthur Shuman III

Published on December 8th, 2013

Shuman III, Edwin Arthur, Captain, USN (Ret), 82, husband, father, patriot, naval aviator, sailor, sportsman, and well-found friend to many, passed on December 4, 2013. His death occurred in Annapolis, Maryland from complications due to a fall on his boat on his way to a goose hunt.

Ned was born in Boston, Mass. to the late Barbara Smyth Shuman (later Barbara S. Boeckeler) and Edwin A. Shuman, a U.S. Navy officer and marine architect. Ned spent his early years in Marblehead, Mass. where he developed his first passion, sailing. He was graduated from the DeVeaux School and the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1954.

Ned developed his second passion, flying, as a naval aviator. His career included selection as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, NAS Patuxent, Maryland, from January 1960 to June 1962, attendance at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School from June 1962 to June 1963, and service on the staff of the commander Carrier Air Wing Seven (CAW7) from January 1966 to September 1967. LCDR Shuman served as an A-6 Intruder pilot with VA-35 from September 1967 to March 17, 1968 when he ejected over North Vietnam and was made a prisoner of war. CDR Shuman was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. His heroism and leadership during those 5 years is legendary. See

He served as Commanding Officer of VF-43 at NAS Oceana from July 1974 to March 1975, followed by service as CO of Fighter Wing One from April to November 1975. CAPT Shuman served with the Naval Safety Center at Norfolk, Virginia, from November 1975 to March 1978, and then at Naval Station Annapolis, Maryland, as Commodore of the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, from March 1978 to July 1982. His final assignment was as Commander of NAS Bermuda from July 1982 until his retirement from the Navy on July 1, 1984. He was a recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. As a pioneer in naval aviation, he was inducted into the Golden Eagles.

When Ned assumed command of the Naval Station Annapolis in April 1978, following the untimely death of CAPT Alex Grosvenor, he continued the plans for major growth of the Naval Academy sailing program that Alex had initiated. Ned’s very successful tour of duty as CO, NavSta and Commodore, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, from 1978 until July 1982, included the donation of Cornelius Vanderstar’s 98’ motorsailer, Astral. This began a long relationship which continues to this day in Van’s support of the Vanderstar Sailing Chair at the Naval Academy.

Two of Ned’s proudest and noted accomplishments were the most successful Transatlantic Race to Ireland in 1979 on the Naval Academy’s “Alliance” (former Charisma the S&S 54), with winds to 55 knots (first in class, first in fleet on corrected time); followed by her safe and sure performance in the infamous Fastnet Race of that year. Of the 303 starters, only 85 finished, including his crew and boat. Both of these events had CAPT Shuman as Officer-in-Charge and senior coach of a crew of midshipmen who still talk about him to this day.

Other notable events were the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the McMillan Cup, the beginning of the Safety-at-Sea program, the successes of USNA’s Intercollegiate dinghy teams including the first womens’ I/C teams, winning and successfully defending the Kennedy Cup, and many other firsts and high points.

Throughout the remainder of his life, Ned followed his two passions, flying and sailing.

His sloop, Snap Roll, was seen regularly coasting between Annapolis and Newport, RI. He competed in over 20 Newport to Bermuda Races, and maintained active memberships in the New York Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, the Storm Trysail Club and the Cruising Club of America. He often compared ocean racing in bad weather with being a prisoner of war, saying “it’s a character builder.” As recently as March 2013 he shared those lessons in the opening remarks of the Annapolis Safety at Sea Seminar.

He flew his own light plane around the country to visit friends and family. He was a fishing and water fowling aficionado and also was known to enjoy an occasional hand of poker.

He is survived by wife of 35 years Donna H. Shuman and his children Robert C. Borte III, and spouse Helen Y. Borte; first wife Eleanor Sue Shuman, and his children Edwin A. Shuman IV, and spouse Nancy H. Shuman, Mary Dana S. Giardina, and spouse Tom Giardina, and J. Brant Shuman. He is survived by grandchildren: Michael Shuman and spouse Meredith, Renee Shuman, Robert Shuman, Nicholas Van Wagoner and spouse Caroline, Helen V. Rosemont and spouse Hugo, Hannah Shuman, Sophie Shuman, and Lila Borte and Kelly Borte; and great-grandson Robert Thomas Shuman. He is also survived by his siblings Mary S. Russell, Sally S. Smyth, Ann S. Mills, William Boeckeler and John Boeckeler.

A memorial service will be conducted by Reverend Patrick Flynn at St John Neumann Church, 620 N. Bestgate Rd., Annapolis MD 21401 at 11 am Tuesday December 10 followed by interment in the U.S. Naval Academy Columbarium. Gathering at Third Deck, Annapolis YC immediately following internment.

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