Donald S. Barter, 92

Donald Barter

Donald Barter

BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Donald Sumner Barter, 92, of Boothbay Harbor passed away peacefully on Monday, May 6, 2013 at Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta after a brief illness.

He was born on Jan. 3, 1921, in Boothbay Harbor, the son of the late Alfred Augustus Barter 1st and Marguerite Adams Barter.

Attending local schools, he was a graduate of Boothbay Harbor High School, Class of 1938. Once his schooling was finished, he joined a crew of young men from Maine working on a yacht owned by the Fisher Body Company on the Great Lakes. The vessel was requested by the U.S. Navy and Donald, along with the rest of the crew delivered the ship to Hoboken, N.J.

It was shortly after returning to Boothbay Harbor that he enlisted in the United States Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In his first tour, he was assigned to the Portland area where he helped protect Maine’s coastline. During this tour, he met his future bride, Helen Joyce of Portland, at a dance on the Pier in Old Orchard Beach. After his tour in Portland, he was sent to the South Pacific where he was stationed primarily in New Guinea and the Philippines. While serving overseas, one of his duties was as part of a security detail for General McArthur.

After completing his service with the Navy, he returned to Boothbay Harbor and he and Helen were married on Feb. 22, 1946. There, he built their first home and began a lifelong career in boatbuilding and woodworking. During his career, he worked for almost every one of the shipyards in the Boothbay Region at one time or another, as well as Bath Iron Works. In addition to his work in the shipyards, he built wooden skiffs and an occasional small sailboat at his home. There was almost always a boat that he built for sale on his front lawn. In 1960, he was offered an opportunity to work at a shipyard in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the family moved there for several winters, but came back home to Boothbay Harbor to work summers and build a camp on a parcel of land he had bought on West Harbor Pond.

The summer of 1965, he winterized that camp, remained in Maine and lived in that home for the remainder of his life where he particularly enjoyed the change of seasons, kept track of ice-in and ice-out on the pond and the departure and return of the different flocks of ducks each season. Although he officially retired at the age of 62, he was often asked to lend a hand on various projects by the builders of the region and was always happy to share his skills with a new generation of wooden boat builders.

It was his love of ships and the ocean that showed through in all of his work. His life’s work culminated with the completion of a 16-foot cedar strip pea pod boat rigged for sailing that he began about the time he retired. That work was soon interrupted during which time he lovingly cared for his wife Helen as she battled Alzheimer’s disease. The boat was finally completed in the fall of 1998. Unfortunately, the pond was frozen by then and not wanting to wait until spring after having worked on it for so long, the decision to launch it into the harbor was made. On this first trip, it hit a rock leading to what he termed its official christening, but it continued to float, so he considered his work a success. He sailed that boat on West Harbor Pond every summer until just the last few years. He enjoyed woodworking and loved experimenting with new skills. He was especially proud of his ship’s wheel clocks that he made for each of his children, which are proudly displayed in their homes.

He was devoted to his children and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. His generous spirit lead him to allow anyone who wanted to stop over to the pond for a swim and invited total strangers who wandered into the yard looking for a place to fish to drop in a line.

He was a member of the Charles E. Sherman Jr. American Legion Post for many years. He volunteered each Wednesday afternoon for the past 17 years at the nursing home Bingo game at St. Andrews Village and was recently honored by the staff with a certificate for his lengthy service.

He will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all that knew him.

He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Helen Barter.

Survivors include his daughter Joyce Barter of Bridgton; sons, Allen Barter of Boothbay Harbor and Alfred Barter, also of Boothbay Harbor; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his companion of recent years, Cynthia Dodge of Boothbay Harbor.

Visiting hours were held on Friday, May 10, 2013, at Simmons, Harrington and Hall Funeral Home, 975 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay. A celebration of life was held on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at the funeral home, with Pastor Ami Sawtelle officiating. Burial took place at Evergreen Cemetery in Boothbay following the services.

You are invited to share your condolences, photos, and memories with the family by visiting their Book of Memories at Arrangements are entrusted to Simmons, Harrington and Hall Funeral Home in Boothbay.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Donald’s memory may be made to: The Gregory Wing Activity Fund, 145 Emery Lane, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538.

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