Skip to main content
HomeGales Speakers Bios 2

Fred Stonehouse

Most of his long career as a maritime historian, Fred has stuck to the facts in the tales of shipwrecks, lighthouses and the Life-Saving Service. But among his more than 30 books are the perennially popular stories of hauntings around the Great Lakes in his Haunted Great Lakes series.

Fred teaches maritime history at Northern Michigan University in his adopted home of Marquette, Michigan, where he also serves on the City Commission and has been its mayor. He has consulted for the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada and has been an “on-air” expert for National Geographic, History Channel and Fox Family, and many regional media productions.

He’s received many awards for contributions to Great Lakes maritime history from such organizations as Underwater Canada, Our World Underwater, Marquette Maritime Museum and Marquette County Historical Society, the Association for Great Lakes Maritime, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and Lake Superior Magazine. In addition he was named the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s “2007 Historian of the Year” and a Northern Michigan University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. 

Ken Merryman

Ken Merryman is past president and founding member of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and retired computer engineer. He is a veteran speaker at scuba shows around the Great Lakes and gives several shipwreck talks each year. Ken has been an avid Great Lakes shipwreck diver for 49 years and operated a scuba diving charter service for 40years. Although his charter business operated mostly at Isle Royale National Park, he also frequents the Lake Superior North Shore, Apostle Islands, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron diving and searching for new shipwrecks.

His underwater photos and video can be seen at museums and shipwreck displays around the lakes. The last five summers Ken and friends have been circumnavigating the Great Lakes in his 1947 Owens Cruiser. He has cruised over 11,000 miles covering most of all five of the lakes finding nine new shipwrecks along the way. This season due to COVID he made the Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan loop, this time covering northern Lake Michigan. In the winter Ken travels to warm water ocean destinations using his video camera to capture stunning images of the ocean critters.

Jerry Eliason 

Jerry started diving in the small lakes around Rice Lake Wisconsin in 1966. His first dive in frigid Lake Superior was in 1968 at age 15. He wore a wet suit but without hood, boots, gloves or buoyancy compensator. From 1976 to 1989 he logged 700 wreck dives. After a case of the bends in 1989 he has focused his attention on locating previously undiscovered wrecks. In collaboration with Kraig Smith, Ken Merryman, Randy Beebe, Tom Farnquist, his son Jarrod and wife Karen; Jerry has been part of more than 20 successful hunts for virgin wrecks including the 'went missing' wrecks Hudson, Benjamin Noble and Henry B. Smith, which was the topic of the book The Lake Laker by Fred Stonehouse. Jerry plans to retire from shipwreck hunting once the U-656 is located; the first German U-Boat sunk by U.S. Forces in World War II.