Bernard's Story

FAIRFIELD - On January 23, at the start of his 100th year, Bernard W. Ryer of Fairfield, slipped away from this earth in search of one more trout stream.

He was born on January 12, 1916, in Mars Hill. Red as he was known, was the first born of Ruth and Gilbert Ryer. Red, or Bud to his family, was the caretaker of his three siblings as the family moved from farm to farm finally settling in Monmouth and Norridgewock where Red graduated from high school. He worked in the shoe factory there before going to work for the Beck family as a roofer. Red served in the Army in World War Two as a radio mechanic on fighter planes, returning home to Maine at the end of the war.

In 1947, Emma (Betty) Withee became his wife. They lived in Fairfield where they raised two children in a home Red built. He worked as a cabinetmaker for several years before opting for the financial security of a job in the sheet metal shop at Keyes Fibre. He retired from the mill in 1978. He enjoyed a long full retirement, enjoying full time fishing, and continuing to build furniture. Red was a craftsmen who loved to say his furniture resides in eight states and two countries - it does. He was a creative inventor, a curious life long learner, and a simple man of strong values.

The retirement years of Red's life were filled with fishing and travel. He explored miles of trout streams and the woods that he loved. He and Betty traveled by camper to Yellowstone and Prince Edward Island as well as rural Maine. When he wasn't fishing, his love for reading and writing were obvious to anyone who was "captured" to hear a sample of his work. He used writing to fill his time when he could no longer escape to the woods. He loved the staff at Lawrence Public Library. He remained physically active bowling and golfing into his 98th year.

Red was predeceased by his wife Betty in 1999; and his son Michael in 2013. He was also predeceased by two sisters, Marie and Bernice, and by his loving companion Opal Perkins who brought such joy to his later years.

He is survived by his daughter Sharon Jones of Belfast and her husband Larry Jones who was truly a son to Red. He leaves two beloved granddaughters, Jessica Moyer and her husband Chris of Milwaukee, WI and Maria Jones of Washington D.C. He leaves several nieces and nephews and his friends at First Baptist Church where he was a member for 60 years. . He is survived by his brother Everett and wife Joan.

A special thanks to Roseanne Robbins and Denise Wiley who shared his care at the end of his life. The people at Beacon Hospice were invaluable to his family.

In accordance with his wishes, a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on May 16, at 10 a.m. at his home. The service will be when the sun melts the ice in the trout streams.

Donations in his name can be sent to the Lawrence Public Library, c/o Lou Bickford, P.O. Box 149, Fairfield, ME 04937.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at:

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers, 107 Main Street, Fairfield.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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