SEARSMONT — Norman Withee passed away at the age of 92 on September 24, 2019.
He was born on Swan’s Island, and was the son of George H. and Iris V. (Hamblen) Withee. He attended schools on Swan’s Island, then Rockland and Portland High School. He gained his G.E.D. after returning from his enlistment in the U.S. Army Air Corps at age 17, serving in Germany during the Occupation after World War II. Following his discharge, Norman served with the United States Air Force Reserves at the Dow Air Force Base in Bangor.
His Swan’s Island family and the island itself have forever held a special place in Norman’s heart. His recollection of the island through telling of numerous stories and great adventures were always shared with a smile and love. Norman was well known for his superb memory of local history, great love of family, continuously developing the family genealogy, and his wonderful sense of humor.
Norman’s career took him in many directions from chicken farming, meat cutting, forest fire control, to emergency dispatching. He found his niche the forestry sector: First working for the US Forest Service in Blister Rust control in Waldo County in the 1950s. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Maine Forest Service in Fire Control as a Ranger in Newport and Benton, then as the Regional Fire Control Officer for Maine’s western region headquarters in Greenville. During that time, he attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. After retiring from forestry, Norman joined the Piscataquis Sheriff’s Department as a Sergeant and emergency dispatcher.
Norman was an active community member serving his town governments in various roles and committees. He was the first Boy Scout troop leader in Searsmont in the 1950s. Several of his original troop members reside in Searsmont and continue their support of scouting today. He was active member of the United Church of Christ in Greenville and the United Methodist Church in Searsmont.
A supporter of the Searsmont Library, Norman built library shelves for the Searsmont Town Library established by his wife, Joyce, with the assistance of numerous community members, and he volunteered many hours in the completion of the new Searsmont Community Building and Searsmont Historical Society barn. Along with Joyce and other Searsmont residents, the Searsmont Historical Society blossomed into a museum and barn for the collections donated by residents. He served as President of the society and later replaced his wife as Curator after her death in 2010.
Norman was a 3rd Degree Mason at the Quantabacook Lodge in Searsmont. The great outdoors was a large part of his life and he enjoyed farming, gardening, woodworking and writing short stories over the years.
Norman was married to Joyce for 62 years, during which time they enjoyed many life adventures and travel, supporting each other in all endeavors.
Norman was predeceased by is wife, H. Joyce Withee of Searsmont; sisters, Janice Cole and her husband Richie of Deer Isle; M. Jeanette Staples and her husband Alfred of Belfast; Alice Gross of Stonington; brother, Leon Conary and his partner John McGarvey of Florida; and grand-nephew, Evan Morse.
Surviving is a brother-in-law, Owen Gross of Stonington; sister-in-law, Pauline Hill of Searsmont; daughter, Karen Withee and Douglas Tinsman of Searsmont; son, Mark Withee and wife Bonnie Flaherty of Gouldsboro; daughter, Valerie Nielsen and husband Ronald of Freeport; grandchildren, Kurt Nielsen and wife Leah of Bath; Erika Simonson and husband Kyle of Freeport; and Michelle Withee and fiancé Kevin Alley of Dedham; and great-grandchildren, Max and Kinsley. Norman also leaves many very special nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held on Saturday, October 12, at 2 p.m., at the Searsmont Methodist Church followed by a reception at the Searsmont Community Center.
The family suggests memorial donations be made to: H. Joyce Withee Scholarship Fund, c/o Town of Searsmont, PO Box 56, Searsmont ME 04973.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.longfuneralhomecamden.com.
Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.