Board and staff biographies


Board of Directors

Kathleen Walrath, President of the Board of Directors, Member of Stewardship Committee

Kathy and her husband Tom joined the Falmouth community part-time in 2000 and then in 2015 transitioned from the suburbs of Chicago to a full-time resident in Teaticket.  Kathy joined the Friends of Nobska Light as a committee member in 2016; board member since 2017; vice president in 2018 and president March 2019. Her passion for boating off the coast of Falmouth with views and navigational guidance from Nobska Light ignited the relationship with FONL.  A graduate of St. Xavier University with a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, Kathy, now a semiretired healthcare executive, is known for a collaborative leadership approach yielding strategic outcomes in a competitive environment. Her experience with volunteer structures, education, safety and client satisfaction contribute to the strength of the FONL board.

Susan Shephard, Vice President Board of the Directors, Chair of Strategic Planning Committee, Member of Stewardship Committee

Susan was one of the founding members of the Friends of Nobska Light. She has lived in Falmouth since 1972, having moved here after serving almost four years in the Peace Corps in Kenya. She and her husband opened their own science writing, editing, and publishing business several years later, which continued until just a few years ago. Very early on, Susan got involved in the fight to save Highfield Hall from demolition and then in the planning for its eventual acquisition by the town and full restoration. A community activist and Town Meeting Member, she has worked on a number of local projects of interest to our citizens.

Mary Harris, Treasurer of the Board of Directors, Chair of Finance Committee

Mary has been on the Board and Treasurer of the Friends of Nobska Light since its inception.  She is a retired business owner, active in several organizations in Falmouth, including, the West Falmouth Library, and the Museums on the Green/Falmouth Historical Society.  She also is a Town Meeting member and serves on the Town Finance Committee.

Mary is a Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter, Past President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators, and member of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society.

Brian Nickerson, Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors

Brian is one of the original members of the Friends of Nobska Light and President from 2015—2019.  His community service extends beyond Nobska to the Falmouth Historical Society, Town Meeting Member, Rotary Club and others where he has held various board and committee positions.  Brian, a naval intelligence officer, served our country in Japan and Vietnam. Brian graduated from University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor of Business Administration; Master of Regional Planning.  His professional accomplishments include development of large commercial and residential projects in the Northeast. Brian’s leadership and planning experience supported the development of a strategic vision for Nobska.

Jonathan Polloni, Corporation Clerk

Growing up in North Falmouth instilled a deep appreciation of the natural beauty of the Cape and its historical settings. After traveling and going to law school in New Mexico, I returned to Cape Cod to practice law and raise a family. I believe in the importance of maintaining our local history and giving back to the community, and put that in practice as a founding member of FONL. I am incredibly fortunate to be working alongside such a tremendous and dedicated group.

Patrick Burke, Member of the Board of Directors, Member Facilities, Finance & Nomination Committees 

Pat, his wife Patty, and their three daughters have been summer residents of Falmouth since 2000 and now enjoy the beauty of Nobska Light from their home in Woods Hole.

Pat’s professional career began in the consulting practice of Arthur Andersen & Co. in Boston. From there he has held leadership positions in the manufacturing industry and founded Waverly Partners, Inc. to acquire and improve specialty manufacturing businesses. Pat has served on numerous not-for-profit boards focused on education and the arts in the Philadelphia region.  He holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Stonehill College where he serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.

David Forsberg, Member of the Board of Directors, Co-Chair of Capital Campaign Committe

David has worked  in a number of government and not for profit positions. After completing military service, he worked in the family insurance business, but eventually left to pursue careers in  social services and government. He graduated with a degree in Religion from Bowdoin College and did graduate work at Boston University and Harvard Divinity School. He served on the Worcester  City Council, as HUD Regional Administrator for New England, Secretary of Health and Human Services for Massachusetts, Chief Development Officer for the City of Worcester and Massport, and President and CEO of The  Worcester Business Development Corporation. Earlier in his career he was an urban ministry advisor to the Lutheran Bishop for New England and headed Lutheran Social Services of New England. He is an Army veteran and resides in Falmouth  with his wife, Ann. They have two adult sons and one grandson. He enjoys fund raising for worthy causes, especially Nobska Light Station.

Robert Grosch, Member of the Board of Directors, Co-Chair of Facilities Committee

Bob was a founding member of Friends of Nobska serving as the Woods Hole Historical Museum representative. He has worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory and for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He enjoys working on 200-year-old buildings preserving them for the future. He has interests in the local history of Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

Charlotte Harris, Member of the Board of Directors

Charlotte was a founding member of the Friends of Nobska Light. A graduate of RISD with a master’s degree from the University of Hartford and completed doctoral work at Harvard Graduate School Of Education, Charlotte retired from a career in public education as Development Director of the Boston Public Schools. In retirement, in Falmouth she has served as president of her congregation, treasurer for People for Cats, Board Member of the Falmouth Art Center, and an elected member of Falmouth’s Planning Board.  Recruited to Nobska’s cause to write the application to the Coast Guard for the lease of Nobska Light, her grant writing skills continue to contribute to the mission of preserving the beauty and utility of the light station.

Stephen Levy, Member of the Board of Directors, Member of Facilities and Finance Committees

Steve and his wife Sandi have owned a summer home next to Nobska Light for nearly forty years.  While living on Nobska Point, Steve has been actively involved in efforts to preserve and enhance the scenic beauty and residential character of the Nobska neighborhood and the Nobska Keeper’s House.

After his service as an officer with the U.S. Army Security Agency he joined Cambridge based BBN Corporation in 1966.  He was Chief Executive Officer of BBN from 1976 to 1994 and retired as its Chairman in 1995. Among BBN’s many notable technological achievements was its role in the development of the ARPANET, the forerunner of the modern Internet.  

Steve has served on many corporate boards and was also a member of the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the American Business Conference, and the Center for the Quality of Management.  He is past Chairman of the American Electronics Association, the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Massachusetts in May 2001.

Barbara Meissner, Member of the Board of Directors, Chair of Stewardship Committee

Barbara’s professional life in Michigan revolved around her tenure as a college admissions counselor and Director of Experiential Education at the Academy of the Sacred Heart.  At that time, Barbara was president of the Women’s Survival Center and a staunch advocate for women and children in Oakland County. The agency included a childcare center licensed for 150 disadvantaged children, a teen mothers house for eight teens and their babies, a crisis center, as well as programs to support all who walked through the doors

In the town of Falmouth, Barbara became an advocate for historic preservation of Highfield Hall serving as Vice President and President after the acquisition and during the restoration.  A new cultural center was established to provide art and music for residents and tourists alike. Recently, a new opportunity in the form of the Nobska Lighthouse property came into being.  As a board member from the start, the future restoration and maritime museum creation will be a great source of pride for the entire community.

Philip Richardson, Member of the Board of Directors, Member of Facilities Committee

Phil Richardson is a Scientist Emeritus in the Physical Oceanography Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where he studies ocean currents and the soaring flight of albatrosses and other sea birds. He lives near Nobska Light, which serves as an important navigation beacon when he sails the nearby waters. Nobska Light is also a favorite topic of Phil’s photography.

Karen Rinaldo, Member of the Board of Directors

Karen was born in Worcester, summered here in the late 60's and started her business in Falmouth in 1972.   As a nearly 50 yr member of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, Karen believes membership is about how you can best serve your community. She serves on six boards and an additional two committees in Falmouth headed by dedicated and loyal members with varied backgrounds and experiences.   

Karen's work has always carried a historical theme and in 1995 she was commissioned to create the first historically accurate painting of the First Thanksgiving/1621.  The painting was on loan as part of "A Gift to the Nation" from its origin and was exhibited at Plimoth Plantation for twenty years. Recently, The Falmouth Historical Society was granted a loan agreement  to display the painting thru 2021 in conjunction with the 2020 400th commemoration of the Landing of the Mayflower.

In 2018 The Gallery on Main was introduced to historic downtown Falmouth. Karen is co-owner and proud to represent over twenty five established and emerging artists from Cape Cod. The gallery by day becomes a performance room at night and is showcasing local and nationally known entertainers  to their stage.

Karen looks to the statue of Katharine Lee Bates across the street from her gallery and the words inscribed, "Never was there lovelier town than our Falmouth -by-the-Sea." Friends of Nobska are doing their part helping in that cause.

Jeffrey Thomas, Member of the Board of Directors, Member of Executive Committee,

Tour and Volunteer Manager

Jeff joined the Friends of Nobska Light the day that the Coast Guard passed the Stewardship of Nobska to the Town of Falmouth and the Friends. He is a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and has such been providing tours and public access to Nobska since 2008. A Engineering graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jeff has recently retired after having been a Technical Project Manager in the Massachusetts Computer Storage Industry for much of his career. With his multiple experiences in leadership of people, projects, in various positions in the private sector and Coast Guard Auxiliary, as well as his years of boating, navigation, and search and rescue training, he complements the board with these skills.

Sarah (Sally) Calacicco, Recording Secretary

Sally began her role as recording secretary for the Friends of Nobska Light in 2017. A graduate of Skidmore College, she has worked in the hospitality field, and most recently as a secondary English teacher in Montgomery County Maryland. Though raised on the North Shore she enjoyed many visits to Falmouth as a child and has vivid memories of getting blasted by the Nobska horn before it was relocated to the lower rocks.  After many visits to Falmouth and Woods Hole over the years with her husband and children, the decision was made to retire here. Having studied Art History, worked as an educator and raised by the sea, she has a deep interest in the establishment of a Maritime Museum in the keeper’s house.

Advisory Board

Commander Carissa April, USCG Retired, Member of the Advisory Board, Member of Capital Campaign Committee

Carissa serves as an Advisory Board member and Capital Campaign Committee member, bringing to bear over 22 years of experience executing a broad range of U.S. Coast Guard programs and many thousands of hours standing the watch at sea and ashore.  Carissa first came to Cape Cod in her second tour of duty, as the Executive Officer on the CG Cutter Monomoy in Woods Hole; here, she met her husband and, over time, became a Falmouth local.  Carissa has fond memories of being invited to Nobska—it was then the Coast Guard Group Commander’s home—for meals, watching the fireworks, and meeting up with Flying Santa.

Commodore Thomas L. Bushy (USMS-Ret.), MM, MPE, Member of the Advisory Board 

Commodore Thomas L. Bushy was appointed to the Friends of Nobska Light Advisory Board in the Spring of 2017 after he retired from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy after 36-years.  Commodore Bushy served as faculty for 18 years before accepting the Vice President of Maritime Operations position that included serving as Master of the Academy Training Ship for over twenty years.

Bushy graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and received an MBA from Universty of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  He has served as a member of the US Delegation to the International Maritime Organization on for Navigation and Communications; member of the US Coast Guard Maritime Safety Advisory Council; member of the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council;  and continues to serve as the Deputy Commissioner of Pilots for District Three in Massachusetts.  

He is presently heading up a small team of mariners that will establish a mini-museum in Nobska Light’s Lighthouse Keeper’s house dedicated to coastal navigation.

Peter & Edna Collom, Members of the Advisory Board

Elizabeth Colt, Member of the Advisory Board

Beth lives in Woods Hole and operates the Woods Hole Inn, Treehouse Lodge and Quicks Hole Tavern & Taqueria in the village.  She also serves on the board of Falmouth Academy, and is president of the Woods Hole Business Association.  She has lived in Woods Hole nine years and welcomes and supports the transition of Nobska Light into a maritime museum.

Weatherly Dorris, Member of the Advisory Board

John Dowling, Member of the Advisory Board

John is a member of the Advisory Board.  He lives on Oyster Pond and was a co-founder of the Oyster Pond Environmental Trust (OPET).  He has been President of the OPET twice, most recently when OPET raised money to purchase 22 acres of land on the west side of the pond for conservation purposes.  He has been associated with the Marine Biological Laboratory since the late 1960’s, serving as a researcher, teacher, and President of the Corporation for 10 years.  He received his AB and PhD from Harvard University and has taught there for over 40 years.

Colonel Kevin M. Doyle, USMC (Retired), Member of the Advisory Board

Kevin has had a home in Falmouth for 50 years and has been active in local organizations since his retirement ten years ago.   He is a Past President of the Old Stone Dock Association, and active in the Historical Society, the Preservation Alliance, and the 4th of July Fireworks Committee among others.  Like so many Falmouth residents, he grew up listening to the Nobska foghorn and dreaming of being the Keeper of the Light.  The Advisory Committee is a dream come true!

Marianne Fricke, Member of the Advisory Board

Marianne, originally from St. Louis, moved to Woods Hole in 1985 with two small children and a husband who was a MIT/WHOI student.  Before coming to Woods Hole, she'd worked with children who had special needs as a teacher and recreation program director. Later in Boston she worked in preschool outdoor education programs and directed a program for 2-year-olds. An avid gardener, she completed the Harvard continuing education program in Landscape Design and currently enjoys gardening for others. In addition, she and her husband run Nobska Farms in Woods Hole, growing chili peppers and making and selling spicy products. They became Friends of Nobska Light in 2016, feeling the lighthouse was an important icon of Woods Hole. Whenever possible, she spends time with family and especially loves playing with her west coast grandchildren.

Carter Hunt, Member of the Advisory Board

Stephan Junker, Member of the Advisory Board

Arlene Lowenstein, Member of the Advisory Board

Rocco Maffei, Member of the Advisory Board

Rocco is a Founding Member of the Friends of Nobska Light and now a member of the Advisory Board. Rocco grew up in Maine and started visiting Falmouth in 1972. He bought a home here in 1998 and moved to Falmouth full time in 2010. He is past Board Member of the Falmouth Museums on the Green and volunteers for many of their events. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford Ct. and the University of Maine School of Law. He served in the USAF active and reserve for 30 years and retired as a Colonel in 2005. He was site General counsel for Lockheed Martin in Eagan, MN, Akron OH, and then Marion MA and Cherry Hill NJ. He retired from Lockheed Martin in 2011.

Charles McCaffrey, Member of the Advisory Board

Barbara Milligan, Member of the Advisory Board

Samuel Patterson, Member of the Advisory Board

John Scanlan, Member of the Advisory Board, Co-Chair of Facilities Committee

Margaret Sulanowska, Member of the Advisory Board, Volunteer Guide

Margaret began volunteering as a tour guide in 2016, became a tour guide lead in 2017, and a member of the advisory board in 2017. Moving to Falmouth in 1972, Margaret has always been fascinated by lighthouses, visiting them whenever traveling. As a result of participating in many oceanographic cruises during her 40 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she has personally witnessed the utility as well as the charm of lighthouses.

Cristina (Crissy) Torruella, Member of the Advisory Board

Crissy joined the Friends of Nobska Board in 2016 and has been on the Advisory Board since 2018. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Crissy’s childhood revolved around boats, beaches and the ocean. After graduating from Clark University, she received her MA at Tulane and began a career in International Development. Fate then found her working for Bob Ballard, managing the groundbreaking JASON Project expeditions. Cape Cod has been her home since her marriage and the birth of her son Nick, whom she credits for their love of Nobska Light. (Nick attended pre-school in Woods Hole and insisted they drive home by Nobska every day, in any weather!). Crissy presently works as a fundraiser at Falmouth Academy and brings this experience to FONL.

Eric Turkington, Member of the Advisory Board

Eric was a founding member of the Friends of Nobska Light. He has served the community as Selectman, State Representative, Trustee of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy; Treasurer of the Falmouth Housing Corporation; Founder of the 300 Committee, Falmouth’s land Trust; Chair of the town’s Water Quality Management Committee; VIPS volunteer; Board member of the Woods Hole Community Association.  A retired attorney, graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College Law School, he lives in Woods Hole with his wife Nancy Taylor and dog Juneo.

Tom Walrath, Member of the Advisory Board, Member of Capital Campaign Committee

Tom lives in Teaticket with his wife Kathy, enjoys fishing and boating while operating Walrath Consulting, LLC.  He has over 40 years of experience in maintenance & engineering, purchasing, complex selling, management, and educating. Tom builds strong substantive business relationships to leverage and achieve results.  He has excellent communication and presentation skills, along with being a proven motivator.  Visitors to Nobska appreciate Tom’s passion as he guides them through her history, current use and the FONL vision for the future.


Executive Director

Catherine Bumpus, Executive Director of the Friends of Nobska Light

Catherine was a founding member of the Friends of Nobska Light. She was hired as executive director in 2016. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Catherine is a lifelong sailor and has worked in the maritime industry on sailing vessels and tugboats, and as a professional sail maker. As a community activist Catherine has been involved in advocating for historic preservation and sensible development in Falmouth and Woods Hole. For many years she also taught Nautical Science at the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole. She brings a love of history and the sea to the Friends of Nobska.