Robert's Story

BERWICK - Robert M. Guptill, 100, formerly of Marshfield, Maine and since 2008 of Berwick, Maine passed away peacefully at his Berwick home in his son Stephen's arms on Thursday, January 8 with his daughter-in-law Zoa close by. This was after a brief hospital stay for pneumonia related issues.

Robert Maxwell Guptill was born February 11, 1914 in Marshfield, Maine, the only child of Bernard F. Guptill and Hatie Rogers Guptill. He attended Marshfield Elementary School and later Machias High School from which he graduated with High Honors in 1933. Following graduation Bob, as he was known, became a Rural Dealer for the J.R. Wattkins Company of Winnona, Minnesota and Newark, New Jersey. He established a sales route in Eastern Washington County and during this time spotted Anita Kelly playing her violin in the college orchestra at the Washington State Teachers College. On June 28, 1938 he and Anita were married and he later was promoted to a salaried supervisory position with the Watkins Company in Portland, Maine.

Bob and Anita lived in Portland where before the war they built and operated a restaurant that they closed when Bob accepted a position in the Layout Department at the Todd-Bath Shipbuilding Corporation in South Portland. Through the Second World War he assumed responsibility for the production of all of the "bracket connectors" involved in the process he developed that resulted in saving one complete allocation of steel for every four hulls, thus greatly enhancing the war effort. Through the War years and the building of the Liberty Ships, Todd-Bath became the North East Shipbuilding Corporation. It was particularly gratifying to Bob that his efforts most likely prevented the Yards closing due to a steel shortage. In fact, the accumulation of steel saved through Bob's efforts, was identical to the material used for the Liberty Ship "inner bottoms", thus keeping the Shipyards running and people working. Some time after the final closing of these yards he received a Citation for his contribution and Bob was proud to consider it "his contribution to the War effort".

With those closures at the end of the War, Bob became interested and involved in the art of Dental Technology where he additionally became associated as a private technician with Dr. Gauthier of Portland. Learning the dental technician process through this association enabled him to later establish his own business dedicated to scientific design and construction of cast removable metal appliances, specializing in using gold. He became the first in the State of Maine to offer this Induction Method which he continued up to 1969.

In 1969 Bob became a licensed Broker with the Machias Action Agency, one year later opening his own Agency which he operated from his home for nearly 20 years. This time frame also included dealerships with two major log home manufacturers and the resulting supervision of log home construction of over 55 log homes. He became interested in wood working and extensive wood carving. In this capacity he served both the public and the Center Street Church in Machias, as well as the Methodist Church in Berwick, later donating large amounts of woodworking technical materials to Machias High School. He also was pleased to donate his beloved electronic organ and a part of his music library to the Marshfield Congo Church.

Bob was a Past Master of the Machias Harwood Masonic Lodge #91 and was instrumental with Dwight Whitney in starting and serving as Dad Advisors for a DeMolay Order in Machias. He served for a short time in Machiasport as church organist and was deeply involved in the Machias Bay Chamber Music Program, serving as the organizations first president for two of its early years. He was actively involved in many activities including extensive work with the Twp 30 projected land fill. Bob's beloved wife Anita passed away in June of 2008 and Bob, up to his passing, remained with his son, Stephen and daughter-in-law, Zoa, in Berwick. During the years in Berwick, he became the oldest citizen in the town, receiving that particular notoriety on his 100th birthday (and before he left Marshfield he received a similar honor).

He is survived by Grandsons Robert Schuyler Guptill and wife Katie Taylor of Boston, Massachusetts and Daniel Kelly Guptill, Zury Galvez and great-granddaughter Aislyn Carolina Guptill of San Diego, California.

In keeping with his wishes there will be no viewing or funeral services. He has asked that his ashes, with Anita's, be placed together, at a later date, in Wesley, Maine. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Machias Center Street Church (Music Progran), Machias Bay Chamber Concerts, Harwood Masonic Lodge #91 AM & FM and the Berwick United Methodist Church. Arrangements are in the care of the Johnson Funeral Home, North Berwick, ME. Condolences may be made at
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