Cape Fear Community College is pleased to announce the Capt. Richie Spears Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by family and friends in memory of CFCC graduate Richie Spears. Richie lost a valiant battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in June of 2008 at the age of 29.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to a CFCC Marine Technology student who shows interest in boat handling, seamanship and navigation. The scholarship will help deserving students reach their goal of working in a marine-related profession.
Born on Sept. 22, 1978, Richie began working on the Cape Hatteras waterfront as a pre-teen where he literally “ran” seafood from the boats to the markets. He shortly graduated up to a mate’s position on the Miss Hatteras, an eighty-foot head boat.
Throughout his teen years he worked on charter boats where he honed his offshore sport fishing skills. At the ripe age of 18, he took those skills to the Honolulu waterfront where he worked as a charter boat mate. Although most of these early years were spent in a hook and line fishing environment, he was developing a love of traditional fish harvesting methods and the impacts that both have on our ocean resources.
“What he had at 20 years was a relatively immense amount of experience and a strong determination to forge a livelihood as a mariner,” said Joyce Spears.
To help focus this knowledge and energy he turned to CFCC’s Marine Technology Program. At CFCC, he joined a great group of fellow professional mariners where he was able to put formal polish on his career efforts.
He graduated in 2002 with an associate degree in marine technology and a master operator’s license, allowing him to captain seagoing vessels up to 100 tons.
After graduation, he successfully opened a “child-friendly” inshore charter service, Hatteras Adventures, which catered to vacationing families throughout the summer season. During the winter he fished commercially, operated a duck hunting guide service, and served as the stand-by captain for the Tow Boat US Franchise in Hatteras.
Dickie Spears, Richie’s father, said that Richie considered himself fortunate to attend CFCC. He was proud to be a graduate from the marine technology program and pleased to be associated with such a fine group of mariners.
“We are so very thankful that our friends and family members have given so generously to a program that will help others achieve success in a field that Richie so loved. We are very grateful that the Captain Richie Spears Memorial Endowed Scholarship will live on in honor and memory of such a fine waterman,” Mr. Spears said.
For more information about CFCC, the Foundation, endowments or scholarship opportunities, please contact the CFCC Foundation at (910) 362-7207.