Lucien Charles "Charlie" Sweet
May 22, 1938 - Feb 27, 2017
- Lucien Charles "Charlie" Sweet, 78, died February 27, 2017. He is survived by wife, Betsy Schneider; daughter, Phoebe Sweet; and son, Caleb Sweet. A resident of Bangor, Maine, Charlie was born on May 22, 1938, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan.
He died as he lived, on his own terms. He was, by turns, a Polio survivor, an Eagle Scout, an Army National Guardsman, a textbook salesman, a '57 Chevy and Corvette enthusiast, a surfer, a candle maker, a Michigan football fan, a carver, an epic hunter and fisherman, a Christmas tree salesman, a registered Maine guide, a tree surgeon, a writer, a gardener and one of the world's best-read amateur Civil War scholars.
In the '70s he moved to Maine to live off the land. He built a log cabin in the woods of Atkinson with the help of a team of horses. Asked how he knew how to build a house he said, "I read a book."
He lived to be outdoors. "Camping" to him meant driving an hour to the edge of Jo Mary Lake, motoring his Grand Laker canoe another hour across the water, and camping on sandy beaches. He was quick to give a starving Appalachian Trail through-hiker some oatmeal, but was also sure to leave a few lobster shells in the fire pit to taunt them.
You might have known him as a businessman, a beach bum, a hippie or a woodsman. Regardless of the decade, he was impossibly cool. He never did anything he didn't want to do. And you would be hard pressed to find a photo of him without a Pall Mall, a Budweiser and a bottle of Jim Beam somewhere in the frame. And, according to Charlie, anyone who ever did anything mean to him eventually died. Coincidence? We think not.
He loved to tell stories. He only had about ten, but they were epic (at least the first few times you heard them). Unfortunately, the majority of those stories weren't appropriate for publication in a newspaper. But if you were fortunate enough to cross paths with him, there's a good chance you heard one or two.
In 2000, Charlie was injured in a fall and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But that didn't stop him from doing the things he loved -- hunting, fishing, gardening and touring Civil War battlefields. He did more from a chair than most people do on two legs. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and improving quality of life for people living with paralysis.
A sendoff will be held at the bar at Uno's Pizzeria in Bangor on Saturday, March 4, at 4 p.m.