- Elmer Wesley 'Herky' Wilcox
June 22, 1933 - December 8, 2017
Beals Island, Maine - It is with sadness and contentment that we announce that our father, Elmer W. Wilcox, better known to his family and friends as Herky, passed away peacefully on Friday December 8th at the age of 84 at the Veteran's Home in Bangor surrounded by family. He is now reunited with the love of his life, his wife Frances Jean. He was born on Beals Island to Ralph and Grace (Peabody) Wilcox. Dad grew up on Beals Island and was one of five graduating students in the class of 1950 at Beals High School. He received the nickname of "Herky" from the comic strip "Herky and His Gang".
Dad spent four years in the US Navy as an airman. He returned to Maine and attended the University of Maine under the GI Bill, majoring in Civil Engineering. In 1957 he met the love of his life, Frances Matthews, in Newport Maine, where they were married on November 23rd. Upon his graduation from the University of Maine they moved to New York where he worked for General Electric. Later they returned to Newport where they raised their family of three sons and one daughter. They also helped raise two nephews. In addition, several nieces and many neighborhood kids considered the Wilcox home to be their second home. He never knew how many kids Mom would have at the dinner table on any given night. He worked for the State Of Maine, Department of Transportation where he retired after 26 years. He worked an additional 10 years as a civil engineer for Wardwell and Sons.
He was a pillar of the Newport community for over 30 years. He was on the board of selectmen, school board, basketball and Babe Ruth coach. He was a current member of the Beals Historical Society, the American Legion, and was a Mason at the Newport Masonic Lodge.
In 1988 our parents became snowbirds, enjoying the best of both worlds on Beals Island and sunny Florida until Mom's death in October 2015. In Florida Dad was a successful competitor in the Senior Olympics and had his picture in the Bangor Daily News showing his extensive collection of medals. He was a two time national softball champion and all-star in the Winter Haven 70+ league.
Dad loved hunting (anytime day or night) camping, softball, golf, bowling, horseshoes and fishing with family and friends. He was an avid cribbage player at the "Liars Club" in Jonesport and the reigning champion for the 5th year of the Moosabec Summerfest 4th of July cribbage tournament. In their retirement years Mom and Dad fished 300 lobster traps on his boat "Big Dog" every summer until this past September. If you knew our dad, you know that he had a zest for life and was humbled by the love he gave and received from those closest to him. He was especially adored by his grandchildren and his four legged grand dogs. We are proud that our parents were so adored in the community and the stories and the memories will live on forever. Although no one in the neighborhood was rich, Dad was rich with love and compassion for his community and anyone he could lend a helping hand.
Dad is survived by sons Scott and his wife Kathy of Verdi NV; Stephen of Bangor; Shawn and his wife Vicki of Stillwater; daughter Suzanne and her husband Brent Johnson of Carmel; six grandchildren Sarah, Peter, David, Baylee, Breanna and Caitlyn, and one brand new great granddaughter Elena Johnson. He also had four special extra daughters: Robin Matthews, Dee Herrold, Joline Weeks and Julie Dow. Numerous nieces, nephews, one special nephew and his family, Ralph Backman, and many friends whom he loved dearly also survive him.
Dad was predeceased by his mother, father, sister, and brother-in-law, Norma and Junior Backman, infant grandchildren Logan and Mckayla Smith, and numerous extended family.
Funeral services celebrating Herky's life will be held at the Old Town United Methodist Church, 726 Stillwater Avenue, Old Town officiated by Rev. Dr. Tracy Reeves and nephew Pastor Bud Fancy on Friday, December 15th at 11 a.m. A luncheon reception will follow in the fellowship hall.
We would like to thank the Maine Veteran's Home staff for the honor, dignity and respect they showed our Dad after his passing.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Jonesport/Beals 4th of July Celebration fund (checks to Sue Mills, PO Box 26, Jonesport, Maine 04611) in Herky's name. There will also be a box available at the church. Arrangements entrusted to the Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Ellsworth. Memories may be shared at www.bragdonkelley.com. We are fulfilled by the life our parents modeled and are so happy that they are together again.
Published on  December 12, 2017