DOVER - Dr. William Henry Flayhart III, Professor Emeritus at Delaware State University, died at his Dover home on Jan. 26, 2019. Dr. Flayhart was a distinguished scholar, specializing in world history and maritime history, and was the author or co-author of six books.
The son of William Henry Flayhart II and Naomi Flayhart, he was born in Williamsport, Pa. on July 12, 1944. He received his bachelor's degree in history at Lycoming College in Williamsport, and his master's and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. He also studied at the University of Edinburgh in 1964 and 1965 and at the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London in 1969 and 1970.
Dr. Flayhart was a professor of history at Delaware State from 1970 until his retirement in 2009. From 1993 to 2000 he was chairman of the history department. In 2006 the university's board of trustees elected him the institution's first professor emeritus. In 1994 and 1995 he was Visiting Professor of History at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands.
He became interested in maritime and naval history at an early age and researched those subjects for many years. He was an acknowledged authority on the great North Atlantic passenger ships and wrote several books on the subject, including Perils of the Atlantic, The American Line 1871-1902, Majesty at Sea with John H. Shaum, Jr., and QE2 with Captain Ronald W. Warwick. In 2001 he received the John Lyman Book Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) for The American Line 1871-1902, which was recognized as the most distinguished work on American maritime history during the year 2000. He was also an active member of NASOH.
In 1992, Dr. Flayhart also authored Counterpoint to Trafalgar: The Anglo-Russian Invasion of Naples 1803-1806. He received the Legion de Merit from the International Napoleonic Society for Counterpoint to Trafalgar and for his study of the French revolution and Napoleon. He was also elected a fellow of the International Napoleonic Society.
From 2002 to 2008 he was secretary to the board of directors of the Steamship Historical Society of America and was awarded the society's C. Bradford Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 in recognition of his contributions to American maritime and naval history. Over the years he also wrote a number of articles for the society's quarterly journal.
He traveled extensively by sea for many years and presented numerous lectures on maritime and world history while aboard ship. Among others, he lectured aboard the famous liners Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 as they crossed the North Atlantic. He also lectured extensively in the Delaware area on a variety of subjects.
Dr. Flayhart was active in the Kiwanis Club of Dover, was past president of the Friends of Old Dover, and served as an Elder of the Presbyterian Church of Dover.
He is survived by his wife, Deborah Flayhart; son, Thomas Flayhart and his wife Amy Flayhart; daughter, Catherine Collins and her husband Dwight Collins; and daughter, Jennifer Keller and her husband Matthew Keller. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Taylor Flayhart, Spencer Flayhart, Topper Collins, and Emma Keller, and his brother, Martin and his wife Gale.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Dover, 54 Reed Street at State Street in Dover.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Dr. Flayhart's name to the homeless shelter of the Dover Interfaith Mission, Box 1148, Dover, Delaware, 19903.
Letters of condolences may be sent and guestbook signed at www.torbertfuneral.com