Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Losing a good friend: Michael J. “Moh” O'Hanlon

Photo credit: Tiffany Royal
PTMSC’s staff and volunteer community has been mourning the loss of long-time friend volunteer Moh O'Hanlon. Moh passed away on Friday, November 29th, the day after his 71st birthday. 

Moh was a fixture at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Marine Exhibit. Garbed in his English seaman’s cap and PTMSC octopus t-shirt, Moh would greet visitors into the exhibits and explain the rules. Moh was passionate about marine science and even more so about sharing that passion with others. Over the years, returning visitors have asked for Moh since their experience with him was so memorable.

Moh had a love for folk music and often played the harmonica in the PTMSC exhibits. His knowledge of fish was extensive and he would spend hours ID-ing the different animals that appeared in the tanks, and educating visitors. He began logging volunteer hours in 2000, and over the course of the past 13 years, racked up over 5,000 hours --- an extraordinary achievement.

Moh represents the true spirit of volunteerism at the PTMSC – he committed himself to our mission of Inspiring Conservation of the Salish Sea, and made it his personal mission to reach as many people as possible. In the summertime, he could be found here nearly every day. If Moh were here, I know he'd say "there's no place I'd rather be!" We have lost an irreplaceable friend ~ thank you Moh for your spirit and all your years of service! 

A potluck (with music of course) to celebrate Moh's life will take place on Saturday, January 4th at 2pm in the PTMSC Marine Exhibit, out on the pier. More information and details will be provided as they develop.

- Claudia Padilla, Volunteer Coordinator


  1. Moh befriended my son, Miles, during his stay in Pt. Townsend a couple of years back. His patience and kind manner helped spur a thist for knowledge in my son that I will be ever grateful for. As Miles once said to me..."I like Moh, he is my friend". Yes he is...

  2. Moh- you lived for your passions and gave more to the world than it seemed like it gave back. I knew you so little, but you taught me so much. Thank you for being a part of my life.


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