Ruel W. Flannery, 86, husband of Gloria (Forbes) Flannery, passed away Saturday, August 6, 2016 at his Fort Fairfield home, where he resided for sixty-five years. He will be remembered as a well-known potato farmer, an enthusiastic and generous contributor to his community and a man so cherished by his family that his grandson, Roy Haldeman, took him to school for "show and tell." Inspired by the green Dickies work clothes he wore in fields, in the streets and in stores, his great-granddaughter, Grace Boyd, called him "Green Grampy."
Ruel was born on July 9, 1930 and raised in Fort Fairfield, the son of Thomas E. and Clara M. (Donovan) Flannery. He took his bride, Gloria Forbes of Caribou, on a honeymoon to Coney Island in New York and the coast of Maine in 1951, then brought her to the Dorsey Road farm where they lived the next 65 years and raised their three children: Jill (Dan) Boyd of Presque Isle, Heidi Haldeman of North Carolina and Bill (Maria) Flannery of Massachusetts.
Ruel loved to entertain children and for many years opened his farm to Wilderness Day Camps where area youngsters fished his trout pond, went on nature walks, played games, and heard missionary stories. A favorite winter activity was the annual hot dog roast in the snow-covered woods where participants also searched out, selected and cut down Christmas trees to take home. Between potato crops, Ruel set up long tables in his potato warehouse for gala Western Nights for area church members and friends as they enjoyed barbecued steaks followed by musical and comedy entertainment. Ruel had a passion for cooking and baking. He turned out perfect biscuits, bean-hole beans and blueberry pancakes. He couldn't stay out of the dirt after growing potatoes for 49 years, so in retirement he tended huge vegetable gardens, blueberry bushes, raspberries, and several apple trees which he generously shared with friends and neighbors. An avid hunter and fisherman, Ruel fished the waters of Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and made several trips to Alaska to fish for king and silver salmon. He held season tickets to Fort Fairfield High School basketball games for 60 years, and took his grandsons to ball games at Fenway Park in Boston. The only time he was persuaded to travel to Florida was when he could watch his beloved Red Sox in Spring training. Ruel believed Fort Fairfield was the best place in the world to live and he spent 15 years on the town council, from 1997 to 2011, serving as chairman in 2002 and 2007. In 2011, he received the town's Lifetime Achievement Award in appreciation for service, commitment and caring to the citizens of Fort Fairfield. Dan Foster, former town manager, remembers Ruel as one of the most sincere and honest people he knew, commending his leadership and support for numerous community projects and economic development opportunities. They included, the construction of the levy to protect Main Street from spring flooding, the reconstruction of the Monson Pond dam/bridge that protects and enhances the town's water supply, acquisition of the Armory, creation of a new town office and consolidation of town services. He was ever mindful of the tax burden on citizens and worked hard to minimize it. He was a deacon and Sunday school teacher at the State Street Baptist Church in Presque Isle.
In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by five grandchildren: Derek (Jenny) Boyd, Roy Haldeman, Brock (Shannon) Flannery, Alexander and Morgan Flannery; and seven great-grandchildren: McKenzie, Grace and Faith Boyd, Matthew and Noah Ridenour, Brayden and Jackson Flannery; one sister, Elouise Anticol of Biddeford; numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; five brothers, Jon-Dale, Leonard, John, Shirley and H. Roger Flannery; three sisters, Audrey Nystrom, Helen Wright and Dawn Bishop.
Friends may call Tuesday, August 9, 2016 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Giberson-Dorsey Funeral Home, 144 Main Street, Fort Fairfield. The funeral service will be conducted Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the State Street Baptist Church, 223 State Street, Presque Isle with the Rev. Buck Booker and Rev. Harold Sparkes co-officiating. A time of continued fellowship with refreshments will be held at the Northeastland Hotel, Presque Isle, immediately following the service. Interment will take place at Evergreen Cemetery, Caribou.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Fort Fairfield Athletic Boosters Club 28 High School Drive, Fort Fairfield, Maine 04742 or the general fund at State Street Baptist Church in Presque Isle, P.O. Box 826, Presque Isle, Maine 04769 in his memory. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home and church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.gibersondorseyfunerlahome.com.