We regret to inform you that shell artist, William (Bill) Jordan, of www.sailors-valentine.com and author the shell addiction blog, died suddenly on July 24, 2017.

Eulogy for William W. Jordan by Jennifer Verre and Rebecca Reppucci. Thank you to each and every one of you for your love and support over the past few days.  The calls, the visits, the prayers.  The passing of our father has been filled with great emotion and many questions of why.  But your support and understanding have made a very difficult situation come together with more ease.

Dad was a man that loved deeply.  He was a man of great faith, who became a Catholic right here on this very altar years ago, entrusting his life to God…  As teenagers, Becky and I were so proud to watch someone that carried so many burdens’ in life find a path that gave him such peace and happiness.

And for anyone that knew of Dad’s work.  Whether as a builder, a craftsman, or a shell artist, he was undeniably talented, with a patient work ethic that never quit.  However, although many of us could not fathom the attention to detail that his every work of art offered, he lived with a constant question of is it good enough?

Although he battled that question, I believe every day of his life, he taught Becky and I so much and all that knew him great wisdom.  And we would like to take a few moments to thank him for what he taught us.

Dad, you taught us to live simply……You didn’t need much to be happy.  You took each day as it came and without expectation.  You would find something that had been discarded and bring it back to life with your hands.  Give it a second chance.  An antique or a piece that others would consider flawed instead was valued.   And for that we thank you.

You taught us about the gift of music… Dad loved his music!  We used to listen to reels on tape.  Wear those ridiculous puffy headsets, that were so worn you could feel it cutting into your face.   And when we had family parties, the music took the center stage. As Becky and I went off to school, we too embraced that love of music, and for that, we thank you, Dad.

You taught us to never be limited… not even by a handicap.  Many may not have known that Dad was essentially “born” with a handicap.  His arm did not function normally and he was told he could never play sports and take a chance that he may lose even more mobility.  He never let that hold him back.  He played football all through school and was even gifted a scholarship to play however he never pursued.  He never backed down from tackling any kind of physical challenge, and for that Dad, you have pushed us to expect more from ourselves.

Dad, you taught us about the beauty in nature …… The North River was and will also be our home.  You presented it to us in a way that few had the opportunity to enjoy.  You built a spectacular floating dock on the North River that so many folks visited and enjoyed. We Fished, Canoed, or simply sat on that dock enjoying all the wonderful things that the River had to offer.  It was a magical place that many of us here will never forget. Thank you for sharing that gift with us.

You taught us to give back… When we were growing up, you gave so much of yourself to the town of Pembroke.  President of the Lions Club, the Conversation committee, the historical commission, Becky and I feel this is your legacy, the Harry Woods memorial bandstand, which is enjoyed by so many families today.   As your daughters, we are proud knowing that you were the inspiration and follow through in bringing the community of Pembroke together for years to come.

You taught us to be passionate….  I recently read, “working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress.  Working hard for something you love is called Passion”   We often didn’t understand the hours that you put into things you were building.  We would see the “perfectionist” come out, as we labeled it.  What we may not have recognized at the time was the tremendous amount of passion in everything that you put your mind too.  Thank you for showing us how important it is to have a passion to truly “love” what you do.

Dad, you were amazing with people.  You taught us to accept people for who they are.  Everyone has a cross to bear.  You never know what that person might be dealing with.  Do your best not to judge but remain open.  Your actions, small and large can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.  Thank you for making us consider when meeting new people.

You taught us to feel deeply…Dad, we will always love you.  We may wear our hearts on our sleeves, as did you, but to be loved and to give love is so much more wonderful than to never have loved.

As Becky and I have considered Dad’s legacy this week we share his most important lesson and one we hope will remain with you as we move forward today.  Love yourself.

Dad shared this lesson with us many years ago and it’s taught us to accept who we are, helped us to be confident.  Look at the world with different eyes, and be a positive influence to others that we encounter.

As we say good bye to our Dad today.  Your Papa, your brother, your uncle, your brother in law, your friend… we thank him for the life lessons that he worked so hard to live by each and every day.

When the night has been too lonely

And the road has been too long

And you think that love is only

For the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snows

Lies the seed that with the suns love

In the spring becomes the rose.

Recent Blog Posts


closeupWHAT ARE SAILOR’S VALENTINES?

A romantic way to say ” I Love You.”

When I first became envolved in shell art I was told a romantic story of how Sailors Valentines came into vogue. I was told how a sailor aboard a ship in the 1800`s had a collection of sea shells and decided to create a shell mosaic. As the story goes he found an eight sided compass case and started gluing the sea shells in place and using dark colored shells wrote “To My Valentine.” When he returned home from his long voyage at sea he presented his gift to the love of his life. And that is where the romantic history that has come to be known as the “sailors’ valentine” became a tale that encompasses the spirit of love and devotion to those you hold close in your life. While working on my own shell art creations I started to think how difficult it must have been to create such a master piece on a rolling ship. Later on I was told no one had ever seen an eight sided compass case. In 2002 I came across a book by John Fonds called “Sailors Valentines” which told the history of sailors valentines from the 1800`s along with pictures of valentines from that era .Then in 2006 a new book came out called Sailors` Valentines- Their Journey Through Time with the history of the art with pictures as well as contemporary artists of today. Well I deeply regretted having to put the romantic story a side because it did not hold true, I still, however, am inspired to create my own story of love and passion that I put into every detail of my own recreations of a Sailors’ Valentine.

It was at least true that Sailors’ Valentine from the 1800`s are eight sided cases enclosed in glass containing a mosaic of shells of different colors shapes and sizes. Many were double cases hinged with a locking devise to keep them closed for safe travel. Some of the shell designs from that era incorporated a family picture in the center , or a compass rose and others with phrases in shells such as “FOR GET ME NOT”, “THINK OF ME WHEN FAR AWAY” and “HOME AGAIN”. Evidence inside some restored valentines as well as outer markings date them back to the 1830`s. Many valentines were purchased in Barbados a central port to re-supply and make necessary repairs to their vessels for the final leg of their journey home. No matter how romantic the folklore “tale” is, bringing home such a hand made gift after being separated for long periods of time and miles of ocean was a loving gift. Not only from the giver but as to the one receiving it. Simply put, just a heart felt feeling of being “HOME AGAIN” safe and sound.