Aside from his usual teaching duties, one Ferris professor has taken it upon himself to expand the job description of a typical professor.
Dr. Andy Kantar, a professor in the English Department and the director of the Ferris Writing Center, not only teaches, but is a published author as well.
However, he doesn’t write just for fun. He does so because he sees it as an extension of his job.
“I don’t really see myself as an author on the side,” said Kantar. “As a teacher of young-adult literature and technical writing, I believe that writing books is an important part of my job.”
Kantar said that he has always been fascinated by nonfiction. His books focus on the shipwreck stories of the Great Lakes.
“I find the human interest quality of stories involving survivors to be especially inspiring,” he said. “The resiliency of the human spirit is powerful testimony to the will to survive.”
He said he is also touched by the stories from family members and the pain they have endured over the years from losing their loved ones.
His most recent book, “Deadly Voyage,” revolves around the S.S. Daniel J. Morrell, a 600-foot freighter that sank in a deadly storm at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb” on Lake Huron in November 1966. Only one crewman, Dennis Hale, survived.
“Deadly Voyage” is a convergence of three stories: the story of the ship and its struggle against the forces of nature, the miraculous survival of Dennis Hale against insuperable odds, and a subplot on Bethlehem Steel, the Morrell’s owner and their failure to report the ship missing for 36 hours.
Kantar’s other books, “29 Missing” and “Black November,” also focus on ship wrecks of the Great Lakes.
“29 Missing” is about the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald lost on Lake Superior in 1975 and “Black November” concentrates on the S.S. Carl D. Bradley that was lost on Lake Michigan in 1958.
“29 Missing” was a Read Michigan Selection, “Black November” was selected as a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award, and “Deadly Voyage” was featured for the “One Book, One County” library initiative sponsored in part by the Michigan Humanities Council.
Besides seeing being an author as an extension of his teaching job, Kantar said he finds writing “professionally invigorating.” n