by Norman Kalloch, in collaboration with Kristen Ballantyne
Elwin Frank Hussey turns 100 years old on August 25, 2023. A lifelong resident of Windsor, Elwin is often associated with Hussey’s General Store, which opened in 1923, the same year Elwin was born.
Elwin graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, in 1940 and went to Colby College, in Waterville, majoring in Chemistry. He completed his degree in three years and still holds the record of being the youngest graduate of Colby College.
Upon graduation in 1943, he entered the military, serving two and one-half years in the U.S. Navy. During the World War II, Elwin worked on radio maintenance and radar which included testing advanced communication systems. Armed with a degree in chemistry, Elwin had numerous opportunities to work for large corporations. Instead, he returned to Windsor and set up shop across from the store, repairing radios until 1956. He also served two sessions in the Maine Legislature representing the towns of China, Windsor, Pittston and Randolph.
As he became more involved in the family business, the store sold several lines of appliances. Elwin first went to Hawaii with his now late wife, Shirley, through promotional trips sponsored by several appliance companies. Soon after, he bought his first home on The Big Island and continues to spend time in Windsor and Hawaii. It’s not unusual for Elwin to fly back to Maine to work at the store and then return to his Hawaiian home.
Elwin is a man with broad interests. He oversees a collection of old and rare books at Hussey’s Store. He also has a massive record collection, including titles from Hoagie Carmichael to Joan Baez and about every other artist. This summer, his great-granddaughter, Oliva, is assisting him in cataloging the record collection. Elwin has maintained a sharp eye for making a deal at nearly 100 years old.
Elwin is also a historian, especially about the town of Windsor’s history. He has kept up years of genealogies and put together books about Windsor. He edits and adds to them to this day still, has copies made up and sells them at the store, and shares them with the historical society.
Elwin and the Hussey family have also been generous with donations over the years to the church, schools, and other organizations in the community and he has received a lot of satisfaction from helping his hometown over his lifetime.
Elwin leaves the day-to-day running of Hussey’s Store to his son Jay and granddaughter Kristen. However, managing the old book department remains his responsibility. Hussey’s Store has been a family endeavor for three generations, and Elwin hopes its legacy for a long time. Elwin says for a family business to survive for a hundred years is nothing short of amazing. The Hussey family knows the work it takes to survive in the big box store culture of modern today.
When asked what words of wisdom he’d like to pass on, Elwin replied, “Don’t let others make decisions for you.”
Elwin plans to celebrate his hundredth birthday at home, in Windsor, with his immediate family and dear friends.
Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!
If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?
The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.
To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!