Harold E. Meade

AUBURN — Harold Elwin Meade, 97, of Bridgton died peacefully Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Hospice House.

He was born in the family farmhouse in Leeds on March 22, 1913, the eldest son of six children of Charles Kimball Meade and Louise Additon Meade. Harold’s early education began in a one-room schoolhouse. He graduated eighth grade from Patten Grammar School in Greene in 1928, which by then was a two-room school. In 1932 he graduated from Lewiston High School. He often told us of going to school by horse-drawn buggy or sleigh and how he and a schoolmate would race their horse’s home. After high school he went west and graduated from Dallas Aviation School at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. He also was a graduate of the Lewiston Welding School.

On October 10, 1937 Harold married Ruth Dill, the gal from the farm across the field. They said their vows at the Dill farm in Auburn, and were married 64 years. During those years they gave birth to four children and lived in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and finally back to Maine in 1973.

Harold took pride in the fact that he was never without a job and never had a mortgage. He started work as an automotive mechanic at Twin City Motors in Auburn. Before the war he went to work as a welder at Bath Iron Works. During WWII he spent three years at the Portsmouth Naval Yard where he did electric welding on twenty-nine submarines, one of which was the U. S. Finback that rescued Navy Pilot George Bush out of the Pacific. From there he went to Brunswick Naval Air Station for a few years where he was an aircraft hydraulics mechanic and an acetylene welder. He also worked at Portland Naval Base as a heavy-duty mechanic. For twenty-six years he was a civil service worker at Quonset Naval Air Station in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. As an aircraft metalsmith he was responsible for the maintenance of naval aircraft. Over the years he worked up to Production Control and ultimately to a desk job in Operation Analysis. Harold retired from the civil service at Quonset Point in 1973.

Even though he retired, he kept right on working. The family moved from Rhode Island to Bridgton where over the years he and Ruth had been developing a summer business, Meade’s Housekeeping Cottages. That venture unexpectedly grew from the purchase of an island on Highland Lake back in 1946. The original plan was to just have a family camp. Harold traveled from Rhode Island to Maine on weekends to build cabins, haul some over the ice, and to maintain his island and shore property. That one cabin grew into nine cabins. Harold actively worked at the cottages well into his 90s.

Harold was involved in several community organizations: he served as President of the Bridgton Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of the Bridgton Planning Board; served on the Board of Directors, Executive Committee and was Treasurer for two years for the Regional Waste Systems; belonged to the Bridgton Cottage Owner’s Association, the Maine Snowmobile Association, the Bridgton Easy Riders, the Norway- Paris Fish and Game, The Sportsman Alliance of Maine and the National Rifle Association. He was a life member of the Ashlar Masonic Lodge #105 of Lewiston and was President of the Masonic Tyre Club of Quonset. He was a member of the Androscoggin Grange #8, Maine State Grange and National Grange for over eighty years. As a descendant of the pilgrim Thomas Rogers, Harold was a member of the Maine Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Thomas Rogers Society.

Harold enjoyed hard work, always being busy, and getting out into nature. He was an avid deer hunter and spent many hunting seasons at the “Berry Patch” camp with his hunting buddies. Snowmobiling was also a favorite pastime. Beekeeping was a hobby for a while. He could entertain us with many hunting, snowmobiling, and bee sting escapades, stories of the history of the cabins, and tales of his youth.

Mr. Meade was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Ruth; his son, Ronald Eric Meade at 16; two sisters, Laura Hodgkin and Hazel Rathbun.

He is survived by two daughters, Marcia Troyer of Boulder, Colorado and Brenda Tuchon and husband Clifford of Bridgton; a son, Craig Meade of Hayden, Colorado; two brothers, Arland Meade and wife Beth of Bartow, Florida and Russell Meade of Newbury, Massachusetts; a sister, Aletha Blackmore of Auburn; six grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren with another on the way; two step-grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

A celebration and remembrance of Harold’s life will be held on Friday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. at Raymond-Wentworth Funeral Home, 8 Elm Street, Bridgton. Family and friends may attend visitation on Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m at the funeral home. Burial will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Auburn. Online condolences may be shared with his family at www.andrewsgreenleaf.com

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