ORONO - Samuel Edward Fuller Sr., 89, passed away into what he called the "big sleep" on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 at Dirigo Pines in Orono.
Most recently of Orono and formerly of Ellsworth and Veazie, Sam could also fairly be described as a longtime resident of Long Pond Township in Somerset County. He grew up and spent much time there throughout his life -- it was, in the words of Stephen Foster, where his heart was turning ever.
Born in Houlton on March 9, 1925 to Ernest C. and Ellen (Lasher) Fuller, Sam was a quintessential Maine man. He was a Maine Guide, worked on the Kennebec River drive, helped to fight the Great Fire of 1947 in Bar Harbor, sold blueberries in Bangor and peeled apples for W.S. Wells & Son in Wilton.
He made maple syrup for decades and in Long Pond and Mackamp he helped run the Pine Tree Camps for tourists and sportsmen with his father and stepmother, Hildred (Weymouth) Fuller.
He was also a surveyor for the James W. Sewall Co. and later worked for many years as a traffic engineer with the Maine Department of Transportation. There, he helped to establish Interstate 95 north of Augusta and worked on the layout of many traffic designs and signage in central and northern Maine. Sam extolled the virtues of hard work, made manifest by his creation of his beloved home on the shore of Branch Lake in Ellsworth amidst the trees and granite boulders.
As a child, Sam lived in communities around Maine including Bangor, Brunswick and Belfast, where his father was principal of Crosby High School. He graduated from Jackman High School in 1942, the salutatorian in a class of four students. During World War II he served his country in the Army as a crewman on 90-millimeter anti-aircraft guns in Europe. He learned how to play the accordion and speak German while guarding prisoners of war.
After the war, Sam attended the University of Maine at Orono, where he was a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brother and graduated from the School of Forestry in 1950. It was at Orono that he met Janice Crockett, a nursing student from Auburn, and they were married on May 19, 1951.
Sam and Jan were both lovers of music. He sang for many years with the Maine-ly Music barbershop chorus in Bangor and in quartets including The Village Chordsmiths. He was a voracious reader and avid storyteller, and as a student of languages he often mixed German, Spanish and French expressions into daily conversation.
In recent years Sam lived at Dirigo Pines in Orono, where he was well-known and much loved by staff members and fellow residents alike. He continued his musical pursuits there by singing with the Songsters group.
Sam was predeceased by his wife and main singing partner of 56 years, whom he lovingly referred to as "Nurse Crockett"; a son, Stephen Ernest, who died in childhood; and a cousin, Ed Law.
He is survived by his children: Sam Fuller Jr. and his wife, Carol, of Stockton Springs, David Fuller and his wife, Shirley Hager, of Chesterville, and Susan Fuller of Bangor; grandchildren: Steven Fuller of Orland, Michael Fuller and his wife, Jess, of Stockton Springs, and Sarah Fuller of Bangor; a cousin, Eloise Law of Plattsburgh, N.Y.; a stepsister, Jane Peacock of Palmdale, Calif.; and a nephew, Dwight Wilcoxson of Auburn.
A celebration of Sam's life will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25 in the Kenduskeag Gathering Place at Dirigo Pines, 9 Alumni Drive in Orono (located off of Kelley Road). In recognition of the special place the Long Pond region always held in his heart, the family asks that contributions in Sam's memory be made to the Moose River Historical Society, P.O. Box 875, Jackman, ME 04945. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com .