Merle A. Hibbard, 90

Merle Hibbard

Merle Hibbard

LAKE CITY, FLA. — Merle Alan Hibbard, Major, USAF RET, 90, passed away peacefully, Friday, March 4, 2016, in Lake City, Florida.

Born in Bridgton, he was the son of the late Marjorie (Chaplin) and Wallace Hibbard, who lived on Flint Street in Bridgton for many years. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 40 years, Edith (Unnold) Hibbard, and brothers (Charles) William, Gordon, and Norman Hibbard.

Graduating from Bridgton High School in 1943, he, like many, enlisted into military service, enrolling in the Army Air Corp officers training program. He flew everything from gliders to cargo and transport planes, bombers and jet fighters. He was sent to Japan toward the end of the World War II and, after returning home, he met Edith Unnold of Bridgton, and they married in 1951.

He was stationed in Florida, Georgia and every state on the West Coast, accompanied by his growing family, finally returning home to Maine in the early 1960s. He retired from the Air Force in 1964, and purchased a farm on Hio Ridge in 1966.

He joined the staff at Camp Winona in Bridgton, working as maintenance supervisor for many years. He enjoyed the outdoors, spending time fishing, camping with his brothers, and playing golf with many friends over the years. He had a gift with animals, having been raised on a farm and enjoyed the company of many special pets and livestock over the years. He loved everything “Maine.”

His first wife, Edith, passed away in 1991. He remarried in 1994 and relocated to Lake City, Florida. There he kept a Piper Lance EXP plane and flew until the age of 85.

He is survived by his second wife of 21 years, Freda Jean (Ladly) Hibbard; son Michael Hibbard (Lauren) of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; daughters, Patricia DiPietrantonio (Peter) of Brunswick, and Catherine Roberts (Bernard Eugene) of Flowery Branch; Ga., eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; stepchildren, Cheryl Claypool (John) of Denver, Colo., Gerald Ladly (Cheryl) of San Diego, Calif., and their six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service with military honors was held on March 14, in Lake City, Fla.; Interment will be at Hio Ridge Cemetery at the convenience of the family. You may leave words of comfort for the family at www.gatewayforestlawn.com

 

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