WINSLOW - O'Neil L. Martin, 85, died Tuesday, June 7, 2016, with his daughters by his side at Lakewood Continuing Care Center after a brief illness. He was born in Baker Brook, New Brunswick, Canada, on July 13, 1930, the eldest of 10 children to Benoit and Laura (Dubois) Martin.
O'Neil left school after the 7th grade to help support the family. Those early years were spent working at St. Elizabeth Nursing Home in Baker Brook as their maintenance handyman where his passion for woodworking, which was all self-taught, flourished. It was always shared by family that he was born with a hammer in his hand and a nail in his mouth.
He met his wife, Jeanne, while working at the nursing home as she often visited her cousins who resided there. Neil and Jeanne were married June 26, 1954 and lived for a short time in New Brunswick and then Fort Kent before moving to central Maine in November 1955. They lived for a short time in Waterville before finally settling in Winslow in January 1956. After their move to central Maine, he worked many various jobs before settling into the glass business as a window glazer. That career had him working for Waterville Windows, Gamco, Soule Glass, and eventually ending up at Central Plate Glass/American Glass, from which he retired in July 1992. During his retirement years Neil spent many hours making furniture for his family, helping them with countless home renovations, and continuing to work part-time for American Glass. Another of his passions included gardening (he loved to share his bounty with family and friends) and every summer sold many a stock of rhubarb to folks who returned year after year.
Moving to the U.S. proved to be a challenge for Neil since he neither spoke nor understood English. He was determined to acclimate to his new life in central Maine and taught himself to speak and read English. He was naturalized a U.S. citizen in May 1970.
Neil is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Jeanne (Clavette) Martin; his four children Roger and wife Cindy (Edwards) of Houlton, and their daughter, Jamie Keane of Massachusetts; Joseph and wife Nancy (Burke) of Schertz TX, and their children Jessica and husband James Remscheid of Memphis TN, Jeremy Martin of San Antonio TX, and Jacob Martin of Schertz; Lorraine and husband Brian Lessard of South China, and their children Shauna and husband James Exner of China, and Josh Lessard of Palermo; and Gisele and husband Jim Carey of Fairfield, and their sons Adam Carey of Auburn and Spencer Carey of Fairfield; and six great-grandchildren: Jason and Julianna Remscheid; Bryce, Lexi and Riley Lessard; and Trevor Exner. He also leaves behind three brothers Yvon Martin and wife Nilda, Normand Martin, and Rosaire Martin all of Canada; four sisters-in-law Anne Clavette and Anita Clavette, both of Fort Kent, and Denise Martin and Marjolaine Martin, both of Canada; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Benoit and Laura; and six siblings Rita Pinette and husband Patrick, Bernadette Beaulieu and husband Honore, Lionel Martin and wife Patsy, Jean-Maurice Martin, Roland Martin, and Antoine Martin all of Canada. Jeanne's parents, William and Eugenie Clavette, and her siblings, Alice O'Keefe and husband Ray, Lorette Clavette, Toussaint Clavette and wife Bernadette, Yvette Barr, Annette Clavette, and Thomas Clavette.
The family would like to send out special thanks to all those people who provided such care and support during the last year and a half - the staff at Goudreau's Retirement Inn, Woodlands Assisted Living, Lakewood Continuing Care Center, and Beacon Hospice. Your support and care was greatly appreciated.
Relatives and friends may call from 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00pm on Friday, June 10, at Lawry Brothers Funeral Home, 107 Main Street, Fairfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, June 11, at 9:00am at St. John's the Baptist Church, 26 Monument Street, Winslow. Committal services will immediately follow at St. Francis Cemetery on Grove Street in Waterville.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate in his memory and in honor of his wife; Jeanne, to: Alzheimer's Association Maine Chapter; 383 US Route One, Scarborough, ME 04074.
An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.lawrybrothers.com