Charles E. Bassett

ELLSWORTH - Charles E. Bassett, 86, died peacefully Nov. 17, 2012, at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Ellsworth. He was born Sept. 28, 1926, in Winchendon, Mass., to Paul A. Bassett and Wilhelmina Schenetsky.

Bassett's childhood years were spent in Massachusetts and Patchogue, N.Y. He graduated from Indiana Central College, now the University of Indianapolis, earned a master's degree from Wesleyan University and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a cryptographer based in Seoul. He taught English and social studies to sixth graders in the Port Jefferson School District on Long Island, N.Y., for 35 years, retiring in 1989. After moving to Maine in 2007 he became an active and devoted member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ellsworth and the Morgan Bay Book Discussion Group. He was an exceptionally witty, kind and gentle man. His many interests included classical music, particularly that of the Baroque period, with Bach being his favorite composer; but above all he loved opera. His delight was unbounded when The Grand began HD transmission of operas "Live from the Met," and he never missed a performance. He and his wife, Annette, traveled in Europe on numerous occasions, many of them music-related; and he also took great pleasure in their regular trips to New York, often referring to Manhattan as his "favorite island." He had a lifelong love of English literature, especially the plays of Shakespeare and the works of the lyric poets. Always an enthusiastic gardener, he was inspired by Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" to undertake in retirement a huge daffodil-planting project on the hillside behind the school in which he had taught. During the course of eight years, he purchased and planted 13,500 daffodil bulbs there, leaving behind an amazing legacy of beauty for the Port Jefferson community to enjoy in years to come. He began another such project after moving to Ellsworth, planting approximately 2,000 bulbs in the garden outside the sanctuary of the Unitarian Church.

Family members include his wife, Annette; two daughters, Jeanne Kell and her husband, Doug Jr., of Surry and Mary Ellen Kitchens of Munich, Germany; and three grandchildren, Braden, Ethan and Emma Kell, all of Surry. In addition, he is survived by his brother, Robert Bassett and wife, Jan, of Elk Rapids, Mich.; a nephew and two nieces. Also surviving is his dear friend, Seok Sagong of Middletown, Conn., whom he met in Korea and whose college education in the U.S. he subsequently helped to support.

At Charles' request, his ashes will be scattered at the family's summer home in West Hartland, Conn., the place on earth he loved above all others. A service in remembrance of his life will be held at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ellsworth in the spring when the daffodils bloom. Memorial gifts may be sent to The Charles E. Bassett Endowed Scholarship, University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227. Arrangements are in the care of Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth.

Published in BDN Maine on Nov. 28, 2012