Obituaries, Week of August 31, 2017


COOPERS MILLS – Herbert William “Sam” Birch, 84, passed away on Thursday, August 17, 2017, in Coopers Mills, following a long illness. Sam was born on December 11, 1932, in New Rochelle, New York, to Oscar LaMarr and Mary Ann Gertrude Smith Birch.

He graduated from University of Maine at Orono in 1955 with a degree in poultry husbandry. He proudly served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. He met his future wife, the former Mary Strickland, on a blind date and married her on June 29, 1957, at Penney Memorial United Baptist Church, in Augusta.

He began his teaching career in 1958. Over the years, he taught science at Winslow Junior High, Hodgkins Junior High, and Cony High School, in Augusta. He retired as chairman of the science department in 1991.

Sam was an accomplished gardener and won many blue ribbons for his vegetables and over 300 varieties of dry beans entered at the Union Fair, Windsor Fair, and Common Ground Country Fair. He gave lectures at the Common Ground Country Fair about growing dry beans. He was a member of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and earned the title of master gardener. He also served on the board of directors for The Town Line newspaper.

He was a generous, witty, and dedicated individual who loved serving others. He was an active and dedicated member of the Whitefield Lions Club, Senior Spectrum board chairman and member, a founding board member of the Sheepscot Valley Health Center, member of the American Cancer society, Relay for Life, and MOFGA, among many other organizations. He helped start the ADAPT, an alcohol and drug prevention team, at Cony High School. He was a second-generation lifelong Scouter. Sam enjoyed hosting the Boy Scout troop from Mamaroneck, New York, each summer. He was a proud member of the “Old Boys Club” and enjoyed getting together to relive the old days of teaching with other retired teachers from Cony high school.

Sam is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Mary Birch; and his son, David Birch.

He is survived by his daughter Nancy Birch, of Augusta, son Peter Birch and wife Carol, of Windsor, and son Andrew Birch, of Augusta; his grandchildren, Jason Libby and wife Betsy, of New Gloucester, Maine, Melissa Birch, of Quincy, Massachusetts, Samuel Birch and Matthew Birch, of Windsor; and two great-grandsons, Carter and Jackson Libby, both of New Gloucester.

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.


CHINA – George W. Studley, 73, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, August 18, 2017. He was born on July 12, 1944, the son of George and Winola Studley.

George, also known as Ty, grew up on the Studley Farm, in Palermo. He graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, in 1963, and Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1965 with a degree in carpentry. He received an honorary discharge from the Maine National Guard, Bangor.

George married his high school sweetheart, the former Bonnie Bumps, in 1965, and they built their home in China. He worked for 27 years at Architectural Woodcraft, in Vassalboro, which later became Duratherm Windows where he became the plant supervisor. Being a multi-talented person with carpentry skills and a Jack-of-all trades, he became the community handyman.

He was an active member of the China Village Volunteer Fire Department for over 50 years, 37 years as the chief.

George, Ty, Dad, Geo, Beeps, Chief…was a man of few words, yet you always knew how he felt. He was hardworking, thoughtful, kind and always there for his family and friends, with his dog by his side.

He had many interests. Most important was spending time with his children and grandchildren and attending their athletic events and taking them hunting and fishing. Each summer and winter the family took fishing trips to the Allagash.

He raised white-faced Herefords, made maple syrup, cut firewood and was fascinated with digital technology. George enjoyed early mornings having coffee and visiting with friends.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years; their daughter, Wendy, and husband Tracy Bonsant, of Windsor; son, Robert, of Palermo; grandchildren, Courtney Bonsant and her partner Damien Belanger, of China; Noah Bonsant, of Windsor; and Brady Studley, of Palermo; sister Sue and husband Harold Charles, of China; and several cousins and close friends.

Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., in Belfast.

Memorial donations may be made to the China Village Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 6035, China Village, ME 04926.


PALERMO – George Horak, 62, of Palermo, passed away Sunday, August 20, 2017, at Togus VA Hospital. He was born Feb. 5, 1955, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Anton and Pauline (Est) Horak.

In his early teens, he moved to Maine with his family. He was a U.S. Army veteran.

George was predeceased by his father.

Survivors include his mother, Pauline; his wife of 36 years, Gail; his children, Daryl Horak, Lisa Robinson and friend Todd, Mary Golden and husband Justin, and Linda Favreau and husband Andrew; his siblings, Michael Horak, Anton Horak, Lydia LeClair, and James Horak; several grandchildren; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017, at George’s residence.

Memories and condolences may be shared at:

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.


WATERVILLE – Raymond E. Culver, M.D., 89, passed away on Tuesday August 22, 2017. He was born on November 14, 1927, in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Ophelia (Kohls) and Guy Culver.

He grew up in Stockbridge, Michigan, and graduated from Hill School, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1956 with an M.D. in internal medicine. In 1957, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. After a parachuting injury he was reassigned to West Point where he was physician to the Cadets. He was discharged a captain and always remembered his time of service as a highlight in his life.

In the early ‘60s, he came to Waterville’s Thayer Hospital and became Maine’s first formally-trained gastroenterologist. A humble and unassuming man he rarely spoke of the honors he received in his specialty over the years. He retired in 2005. He was a member of AA for over 32 years and was not ashamed of being known as one, especially if it meant it could help someone. He personally knew the challenges faced by anyone making an effort and of the courage needed to recover – he knew everyone was redeemable and worthy of forgiveness. Often recognized for his kindness and gentleness and being very approachable he would quickly say, “I’m just another Bozo on the bus.” It was in his service to others that he was being true to himself.

A lifelong learner, Ray was an avid reader of mostly biographies and history. He was a classical pianist who enjoyed hunting and fishing; as well as tennis and sailing; throw in his love of cribbage and life was good. Simply put: he was the consummate officer and gentleman.

Ray is survived by his wife of 15 years Jean Culver; his sons, Christopher Culver and his wife Catherine, Jonathan Culver and their mother Suzanne Culver, his stepchildren, Lori Ward and her husband Capt. Ronald Ward, Doris Vermette and her husband David, Shawn Newton and his wife LeeAnne; his 13 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren.

Ray was predeceased by his twin sister Ruth, his brother Guy, his stepdaughter Natalie; and his beloved mother-in-law Doris Bemis.

Please visit to view a video collage of Ray’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.

Memorial donations may be made to the Travis Mill Foundation, 89 Water St., Hallowell ME 04347.


VASSALBORO – Paul E. Duplessie, 81, of Vassalboro, passed away on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, in Vassalboro. He was born in East Vassalboro on May 17, 1936, the son of Christine (Patenaude) and Emile Duplessie.

He graduated from Winslow High where he was active in the school band and became a lifelong supporter of Winslow football.

Paul proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged as a corporal. He went on to study electrical installation in Illinois and became a nationally-qualified electrician. He returned to Maine and for the next 38 years was an electrician for Scott Paper Co. and then Kimberly-Clark.

Over the years Paul was an organist at St. Bridget’s Church, was a photographer for the Vassalboro community calendar, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, a life member of Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post #5, in Waterville, a life member of Vassalboro Historical Society and Vassalboro Public Library. He faithfully enjoyed lunch at The Villager Restaurant, in Waterville, “where everybody knows your name.”

A highlight for Paul was a month long cross country trip he and Myrna took shortly after his retirement. They crossed over the northern states and returned the mid-states. Paul was a well-read man, with a wide range of interests – you name it – but cars were about as close to a passion as anything.

Paul is survived by his wife of 27 years, Myrna (McLean) Duplessie; his daughter Cindy Davis, his son Steven Duplessie and his wife Laurie, his daughter Pat Manning and her husband Bill, his stepchildren, Bob Beideman, Karen Beideman, Jeff Beideman and his wife Illyona; his eight grandchildren; three great-granddaughters; his two brothers, Thomas Duplessie, of Belfast, and Don Duplessie and his wife Rita, of Portland, Oregon; his favorite in-laws, John McLean, Everett McLean and his wife Marie, Neil McLean, Deanna Malloy and her husband Pat; as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his son-in-law Jim Davis and his sister-in-law Celeste McLean.

There will be a committal service with Marine Corps Honors at 11 a.m., on Saturday Septembere 2, in Village Cemetery, Cemetery Street, in Vassalboro. Please visit to share condolences, memories and tributes with Paul’s family.

Memorial donations may be made to the Vassalboro Historical Society, PO Box 43, East Vassalboro, ME 04935 or Vassalboro Public Library, 930 Bog Road, Vassalboro, ME 04989.


BRUCE H. POOLER, 69, of Rome, passed away on Monday, August 7, 2017, at his home. Locally, he is survived by daughters Tracy L. Knox and husband Craig, of Sidney, Michele L. Martin and husband Steve, of Winslow; brother Rodney B. Pooler, of Waterville; and grandchildren Cody C. Knox, of sidney, Sydnie Martin and Stephanie Martin, both of Clinton, Trevor Willoughby, of Benton, Justin Martin, Kaylee Willoughby, Nathan Martin and Sophie Martin, all of Winslow.

VERDIE E. LEIGHTON, 83, of Burnham, passed awayt on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at Eastern Maine Medical Center, in Bangor. Locally, he is survived by brothers Fred Leighton and Bobby Shorey, of Unity; sister LeeAnn Vance, of Augusta.

IRENE B. OUELLETTE, 96, of Waterville, passed away on Friday, August 11, 2017, at Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home, in Waterville, following a long illness. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Carol Chick, of Winslow.

DORIS J. BEARCE, 85, of Waterville, passed away on Sunday, August 13, 2017, at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville. Locally, she is survived by sons Daniel Bearce and wife Kate, of Windsor, Jeffrey Bearce and wife Joanna, of Waterville, and John Bearce and wife Patricia, of Winslow.

ELSIE LADD, 83, of Freedom, passed away on Monday, August 14, 2017. Locally, she is survived by a son, Ronald Ladd and wife Kathy, of Albion.

ANDRE D. CHABOT, 64, of Augusta, passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2017, at his home following a courageous battle with cancer. Locally, he is survived by a son, Todd Chabot and wife Jessica, of Windsor, brother Gaetan Chabot and wife Deborah, of South China, and a sister, Roxane Zibura and huband Francis, of Windsor.

PHILIP A. HUFF JR., 82, of Augusta, passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at Togus Springs. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Dawn Coons and husband David, of Windsor.

KATHLEEN J, CONWAY, 86, of Waterville, and former English teacher at Waterville High School, passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at the Maine Veterans Home, in Augusta. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Martha Cobb and husband Bill, and granddaughter, Katie Cobb, all of Fairfield.

GLENWOOD ELLIOTT, 90, of Augusta, passed away on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at the Maine Veterans Home, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Carol Churchill, of Windsor.

ROBERT F. CREIGHTON, 80, of Etna, passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at a Bangor hospital following a long period of failing health. Locally, he is survived by a stepson, Sheldon Lane, and step-grandson, Ryan Lane, both of Benton.


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1 reply
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    We came upon an older man that was suffering a medical condition in his car on Western Ave, Augusta on Aug 31 at 2:30-3:00. I called 911 at the scene. We are wondering if he is alright. Thank you


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