James's Story

MONSON - Bill Holmbom died August 5, 2015 at Maine Medical Center following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was born March 3, 1926 in Monson, Maine, the youngest child of Hilma Christine and Adolph Holmbom, Swedish immigrants.

As a youngster, Bill was relatively small of stature, until he entered high school and promptly grew an entire foot taller, earning the position of center on the Monson Slaters basketball team.

Bill lost his Dad at a young age, and took on many responsibilities around the house, until he joined the Air Force. He loved flying, and quickly was permitted to solo when his instinctive flying abilities impressed instructors.

Bill then attended the Portland School of Art, where he met Anne Kendall, whom he married. The couple had two daughters, Lisa and Sara.

After graduating art school, Bill and Anne earned teaching degrees at the University of Maine, and held teaching positions in Montpelier VT, Hartford CT, and Marblehead and Essex MA. The family lived in San Miguel, Mexico for a year while Bill attended the Instituto d'Allende Art School, where he earned his Master's degree.

Bill and his family then moved to Hancock, Maine where Anne taught at MDI High School and Bill had an art gallery and a real estate brokerage business.

As a young man, Bill purchased a camp at the head of Lake Hebron in Monson. Using his considerable carpentry skills, he took an 1800s one-room structure and added on an enclosed porch, as well as first- and second-floor bedrooms. The camp became a family summer retreat. Bill also spent considerable time in later years renovating Anne's ancestral homestead on Chebeague Island in Casco Bay, where the couple spent the last several summers.

Bill was a renowned impressionist artist, and sold hundreds of paintings, primarily of outdoor scenes that inspired him, including quiet lakes, rushing rivers and the bold Maine coastline.

Bill took a special interest in music when he was in a band with boyhood friends, and later became an accomplished jazz musician. He shared the stage with his friend Robert Skoglund (the Humble Farmer) and many others. Even in declining health, Bill could still play complex chords and melodies from his favorite artist, Erroll Garner, and other classic composers.

Bill was predeceased by his parents, Hilma and Adolph, and his siblings Edwin Holmbom, Theodore ("Teddy") Holmbom, Lawrence, Elna ("Eleanor") Nicholas, Agnes Holmbom and Madeleine Pullen. He is survived by his wife Anne; daughters Lisa Leslie and fiancé Gil Guerin, and Sara Holmbom Lund and husband Will Lund; grandchildren Celia Wilson and husband Joe, and Tanner Leslie.

The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Coastal Manor in Yarmouth, where Bill resided for the last several months.

The family plans a private memorial service in Monson, performed by Bishop Gretchen Priest, Bill's former student and dear friend.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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