Bill and the William Henry, the workboat named for him, at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation
It’s come to our attention that William H. Hunley recently left us on March 4, at the age of 95. Bill was not only the designer of the hull of the Rumseian Experiment, but of many other fine craft as well. He grew up in Matthews VA, right on the Chesapeake Bay, and the water was never far from him. After he survived WWII as a front line solider in Europe he returned to the US to become an naval architect, designing submarine hulls, and on retirement in 1980 was Chief Naval Architect for Research and Development and Technical Director for Ship Design for the Bureau of Ships.
In the 18th c., he would have been called a ” perfect man of parts”. He designed many dinghies, boats and canoes, restored his father’s Skipjack, and sailed it down to Florida on the Intercoastal Waterway. He generously dispensed his great wisdom and time to the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, where he served as President and mentored many at-risk youth in boatbuilding, as well as spearheading the restoration of their schooner Alexandria. He built musical instruments, became an expert on the Revolutionary War, was the proud owner of at least two printing presses. He was a great fireplace cook in his restored cabin in Waterford, which he named Trouble Enough Indeed, where he lived until the end. He is survived by two daughters, Margaret Hunley Noel and Louise Ann Hunley, a brother Walter Scott Hunley, and many nieces, grandnieces, nephews, and grandnephews.
When we were on an outing with the Experiment, while we were never sure how the engine was going to work, thanks to Bill we always knew we were in a beautiful boat. He was unique: there’s no one who even can remind us of Bill. We’re sorry to lose him, but we’re thankful to have had him as long as we did.