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Thomas S Witherspoon

The Last Great Cruise of The Queen Mary

of Long Beach Calif USA

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Story by: The Queen Mary Archivist

Date added: 14 Oct 2017

Tom Witherspoon was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up all over the United States. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a reservist while still in high school.

During World War II he served in the Pacific as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps earning 13 medals, including the Bronze Medal, Purple Heart, and the Silver Star for bravery under fire. He also served in Korea and Viet Nam. After a 28-year career with the Marines he moved to the Long Beach where he worked with the city as the official city photographer.

He worked for the agencies that marketed the city and was the only employee on board the Queen Mary for the entire final voyage and later privately publishing a pictorial record of the restoration of the ship "God saved the Queen 1967-1972". Tom became the film coordinator for the City of Long Beach beginning with the original Poseidon Adventure all the way through the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

As recorded by one of the diarists :
Tom was the quiet, reserved photographer, recording the life of the Queen on her last 39 days at sea. His report, as it unfolded, progressed into a humorous monologue, much to the surprise of passengers. Afterwards, an elderly gent walking beside us on the way out commented “He’s funnier than some of the comedians on board”.

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