Donel B. Roberts Sr., 98
SOUTH PARIS — Donel B. Roberts Sr., 98, died peacefully at the Maine Veterans’ Home in South Paris, on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.
Donel was born on Nov. 10, 1918 in Sudbury, Mass., to Frank and Della Roberts. He was a very active little boy and loved his sports! He was such a good baseball player that the high school team recruited him to play when he was still in middle school. Donel was a huge New England sports fan and if there was a game on he could be found watching and rooting for his Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins!
During WWII Donel joined the Army; he was stationed on Saipan Island and worked to repair the advanced and complex instrumentation on the B29 Superfortress Bombers. These planes were designed to allow pilots to fly entirely relying on the instrumentation so it was crucial that these components were impeccably maintained. He was honorably discharged on Jan. 11, 1946, having reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Donel met his wife, Dorothy, on a blind date and he always liked to say, "It must have stuck," because they would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past November.
Donel was a hard-worker and he enjoyed working with his hands. He built the home in Sudbury, where he and Dorothy raised their three children. He worked for Carling Brewery for 19 years, and when they closed he took a position in the Maintenance Department at the Sudbury Housing Authority. This was likely his most favorite job as it provided a challenging environment that allowed him to perfect his homebuilding skills. Donel made sure all the tenants were well-taken-care of and many of those little old ladies rewarded him handsomely with home-baked treats and knitted hats. His son Donel Jr. has said that his dad would probably still be working there if he could!
Eventually Dorothy convinced him to retire, and they set out on their next great adventure — a camp on Long Lake in Maine. They found the perfect spot and Donel set to work building their second home. It was here that he spent the remainder of his life, gardening and enjoying his retirement. He would have Wheaties with orange juice for breakfast each morning and work on various projects throughout the day. He was an avid fisherman and loved striper fishing. He’d be fishing every chance he got! He loved his grandchildren, and particularly loved turning his hearing aids down when they got a little too boisterous.
He had a heartwarming smile and a distinctive laugh; he’d always reward a good story with a “yeah?” and a chuckle. That chuckle will be dearly missed by his family, children Linda, Donel Jr., and Kenneth; his two daughters-in-law Elizabeth and Nancy; his seven grandchildren, Jessica, Trevor, Jena, Sara, Tyler, Abby and Kyleigh; and his six great-grandchildren William, Patrick, Lilian, Benjamin, Reed and Genevieve. Donel was predeceased by his beloved wife Dorothy.
Family and friends were invited to call from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Chandler Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Bridgton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 29, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 225 South High St., Bridgton. Committal services will be private in Sudbury, Mass.
In lieu of flowers, Donel’s family asks that donations be considered to the Maine Veteran’s Home, 477 High St., South Paris, ME 04281. Words of condolence and tribute may be shared at www.chandlerfunerals.com