PORTLAND - Albert Emmanuel Michaud, 85, died Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at the Barron Center, with his loving family by his side.
One of nine children of William and Alvine Michaud, he was born on May 6, 1929, at his parents' home on Heald Street in Old Town. He attended St. Joseph's School, then Oblate Seminary in Bucksport for four years, starring as a center on the school hockey team. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1952, was assigned as a corporal to the Far East Command and served stationed in Japan during the Korean War.
In 1954, he married Rita England, who grew up a few houses away on Treat & Webster (aka French) Island in Old Town. The couple raised eight children at their home on South Brunswick Street, and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in May.
As a young man, Albert worked at Penobscot Shoe Company and became an expert hand-sewer of moccasins, a skill he demonstrated at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. After the shoe factory closed in the early 1970s he worked for more than 20 years at the University of Maine, retiring in 1993 as superintendent of the painting crew.
A skilled and versatile craftsman, he remained very active in retirement, always generous with his time and helping family members and others with home improvement projects. When his children were young he made them stilts, and moccasins at Christmas. For each of his grandchildren he made a small Adirondack chair.
Necessity and a lively mind fueled his ingenuity. He created an air-powered device that separated wild blueberries from leaves and twigs by blowing them across a sloped board covered in felt. He organized his children bucket-brigade fashion to bring into the house the heating-fuel firewood he had cut, hauled and split.
A true Maine outdoorsman, Albert loved hunting, fishing, boating and berry-picking and spending time in the woods year-round, especially at the Brandy Pond camp owned by his late nephew, Thomas Thornton. In May 1953 he qualified for the state's One That Didn't Get Away Club by catching a 15-pound togue at West Grand Lake.
Albert's devotion to his family included a great love of introducing his children and grandchildren to the wonders of Maine's outdoors. They cherish countless memories of expeditions shared with him - picking apples and berries, clamming at Thompson's Point every year, hiking in the woods, and exploring Echo, Schoodic and other lakes.
He was a fan of University of Maine hockey and football, loved growing tomatoes, and was known for his dry and mischievous sense of humor. Every Saturday night for more than 35 years, he and Rita played cards with great friends Don and Pauline Voter.
Albert was a "good churchman" at Saint Joseph's Parish, where he and Rita were very active. He had been an altar boy and went on to serve on the parish council and as a Eucharistic minister. A gifted and powerful tenor, he graced many weddings, masses and funerals with his voice, and was honored to be asked to sing.
Albert was extremely proud of his French heritage. He was on the board of directors of, and a major contributor to, the Nos Histoires de L'lie project, a history of French Island and its families going back more than 200 years. The book was published in 1999, can be found at www.old-town.me.us/nos/home.htm.
Albert was predeceased by his parents; brothers Benoit and Roger; sisters Rachel, Mariange, Adeline, and Doris; and grandson Brian.
He is survived by his wife, Rita, of Portland; sister Gloria Thornton, to whom he was very close, of Milford; brother John, of Bloomingburg, N.Y.; and eight children: John Michaud (Linda) of New Mexico; Audrey Rolfe (John) of Portland; Douglas Michaud of Brewer; Jane Obear (William) of Whately, Mass; William Michaud (Cheryl) of Hampden; Amy Adams (Ralph) of Portland; Paul Michaud of Windham, and Christopher Michaud (Regina) of Chaska, Minn.
Beloved as Pépère, he is also survived by 12 grandchildren: Laila McCaskill (Gregory); Camden Moriarty; Austin and Anna Michaud; Tristan Rolfe; Samantha York; Benjamin and Ryan Adams; Jason, Christopher and Natalie Michaud; and by great-grandchildren Simone McCaskill and Jaxon York; and many nieces and nephews who were special to him.
The family thanks the Barron Center staff for their great kindness and caring service, and the many residents with whom Albert became friends.
Visiting hours will be held from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8 at Birmingham Funeral Home, 438 Main St., Old Town. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at St. Joseph's Church, (Holy Family Parish) at 429 Main St., Old Town. A reception will follow in the parish hall.