Apr 19, 2022
In his 30 years, Ed rose from the rank of Ensign to Captain, sailed the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean aboard NOAA research vessels, predicted tsunamis, charted our coasts, and participated in underwater atomic testing. Early on, he met a pretty college student waitressing in Plymouth, MA for the summer. Her name was Connie Fischer and she had big plans for a carefree summer until a handsome young man with a crooked smile offered her a ride in that Ford Fairlane.
Connie and Ed married on January 2, 1956, danced the night away, and drove south the next day to their first home in St. Petersburg, FL where Connie taught school while Ed was underway. Their next stop was Fredericksburg, VA, where they welcomed baby Joanne and then on to the territory of Hawaii where Mary Ellen was born. In Oakland, baby James joined the family during one of Ed’s rare inports between long cruises in the Pacific. In Virginia Beach, baby Bob completed the family before they headed to Palo Alto where Ed earned a Master of Science from Stanford. Then, the road warrior McCaffrey family moved, again, across the country, for the last time, to NOAA HQ in Maryland where Ed and Connie immersed themselves in raising their four kids. Ed helped with homework, coached soccer, officiated at swim and diving meets, and attended countless school concerts and piano recitals while also serving a final afloat tour as Commanding Officer of the NOAA ship Mount Mitchell surveying the waters off Ponce, Puerto Rico.
After hanging up his uniform, Ed donned a suit and tie to work on the Hubbell Telescope project but would put on that uniform several more times to commission children as Coast Guard officers and walk his two girls down the aisle.