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Captain James Hackman (J.H.) TACHIE-MENSON

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TACHIE-MENSON, Captain James Hackman (J.H.)

Captain James Hackman (J.H.) Tachie-Menson, African Pioneer and Musician, passed away peacefully at his home in Jupiter, Florida on February 9, 2014, surrounded by his loving family. He was 85. Captain Tachie-Menson, a native of Ghana, West Africa, who later became a United States citizen, is known as the first African, south of the Sahara, to become a Master Mariner and Captain of foreign going vessels. He was instrumental in spearheading the cruise ship industry in Palm Beach County, serving as Port Captain and Vice-President of Crown Cruise Line, which operated the Viking Princess (later known as the Palm Beach Princess), the Crown Del Mar, Crown Monarch and Crown Jewel out of the Port of Palm Beach. Captain Tachie-Menson was born on April 4, 1928 to the late Charles and Mercy (Ben-Smith) Tachie-Menson in Cape Coast, Ghana. He attended Adisadel College in Cape Coast, and subsequently traveled to Liverpool, England in 1951 to pursue maritime studies at Liverpool Nautical College. The Captain served in the British Merchant Navy between 1951 and 1960 on board ships in the fleet of the Liverpool based shipping company, Elder Dempster Lines. He acquired his British Board of Trade Certificate of Competency as Master Mariner in 1960, which qualified him as a Captain, and gave him the distinction of becoming the first 'Black African' to be appointed to command merchant navy ships. Captain Tachie-Menson would serve as Captain on various transcontinental voyages prior to being appointed as Managing Director and CEO of Ghana's national shipping company, Black Star Line. Equal to his love of the sea was the Captain's love of music. He gained worldwide recognition as a musician, composer, conductor, editor, arranger and producer of choral music. His original compositions, a number of which were written while he was at sea, are established hymns in many churches in Ghana, and have been performed by choirs in Africa, Europe and the United States. Captain Tachie-Menson is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Veronica (Hayford) Tachie-Menson; his nine children, Cynthia of Brooklyn, New York; James of Accra, Ghana; Charlotte of London, England; Charles of Accra, Ghana; Michael of London, England; Ursula of Centreville, Virginia; Vanessa of Jupiter, Florida; Odette of Spring, Texas; and Oddmund of Jupiter Florida; 2 siblings, Joyce Tachie-Menson of Accra, Ghana and David Tachie-Menson of Lagos, Nigeria; 10 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; and a number of cherished nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws around the world. The Captain was preceded in death by his parents and 10 siblings. A service to celebrate Captain Tachie-Menson's life will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3395 Burns Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410. Viewing and Visitation will be held immediately prior to the service from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the same location. For questions concerning arrangements, please contact Aycock Funeral Home, 1112 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL 33458; (561) 746-5124; Those wishing to sign a guest book may do so online at http://www.dignitymemorial.com/aycock-riverside-funeral-and-cremation/en-us/index.page or at captaintachie-menson.com.

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Published in The Palm Beach Post from Feb. 16 to Feb. 17, 2014
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