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Edward Merrill Coombs

May 5, 1925 - Apr 24, 2017

Edward's Story

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Dexter - Edward Merrill Coombs, 91, of Dexter and Castine, died at 4:00 a.m., Monday, Apr. 24, 2017, with his daughter at his side in her home. He was born in Castine on May 5, 1925, to George and Edith Coombs. He was predeceased by his wife Irene Rumney Coombs after 64 years of marriage.
Edward grew up in and around Castine. His lifelong entrepreneurial spirit was apparent at the age of nine when he began publishing a local newspaper that he named The Green Street News. It was printed and sold for two cents per copy using a typewriter and self-made hectograph from 1934 to 1936. The series was bound and reprinted as a historical account of local goings-on of Castine life by the Witherle Memorial Library in 1996.
Edward started his career as a radio operator employed by Pan American Airways in the early days of commercial flight service on board a Sikorsky S-42 cliper flying boat. He joined the Navy during the Second World War where he worked to decode intercepts in the Pacific Theater on board a Navy Destroyer Escort.
Upon Edward's return from the war, he attended the University of Maine at Orono and earned a degree in Electrical Engineering with assistance from the G.I. Bill. He was employed by RCA, New England Telephone and Bell Systems, working on cutting-edge technologies such as advancement of analogue television tuning, microwave technology, and on the communication systems for the Apollo Space Missions. Prior to this retirement he moved to Iran to serve as an electrical communication consulting engineer for Bell Systems.
In retirement, he devoted his life to his family and his varied hobbies. He loved to hunt and fish. He built and flew radio-controlled boats, planes, helicopters, and drones. He enjoyed genealogical research. He taught his grandsons the lifelong skill of tinkering... In short, he was a very cool grandfather.
Edward is survived by two children, Diane Bartlett and her husband James of Dexter, and Edward G. Coombs of Middleton, Rhode Island; two special brothers-in-law, John Rumney of Hampden, and Kenneth Rumney of Standish; four grandsons, James Hatch and wife Teri of Bangor, Matthew Hatch and wife Stacey of Pittsfield, Daniel Bartlett and wife Susan of Gaithersburg, MD, Joseph Bartlett and significant other Gail of Dexter; and seven great-grandchildren, Shauna, Jonathan, Emelyn, Moriah, Madalyn, Akeem James "AJ" and Chamberlain.
A graveside service will be held on June 3, 2017, at the Castine Cemetery.
Published on  April 27, 2017
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