Theodore's Story

OWLS HEAD - Theodore W. (Ted) Sylvester, Jr., a member of the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame and former Rockland Bureau Chief of the Bangor Daily News, died Saturday, July 4, 2015 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

He was born at Rockland April 12, 1932, the son of Theodore W. Sr., and Evangeline (Winchenbaugh) Sylvester. He graduated from Rockland High School in 1950 and spent most of his working life in the newspaper business.

Ted worked 12 years at The Courier-Gazette as a Linotype operator. During this time he became interested in journalism and began studying college textbooks on his own while working part-time nights and weekends in the Rockland Bureau of the Bangor Daily News. In 1967 Ted moved his family to Presque Isle where he worked full time as a reporter/photographer for the NEWS.

He returned to Rockland four years later after being named chief of the Rockland Bureau for the NEWS, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. In 1976 Ted received special recognition from the Maine Press Association for his role in negotiating the release of a prison guard being held hostage by three inmates armed with knives, who had taken over the east wing of Maine State Prison at Thomaston. Also during his tenure as bureau chief Ted wrote a weekly column called Fish 'n Chips that received widespread recognition.

In 2007 Ted was inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame in recognition of his many years of covering local news in the midcoast area. At his induction ceremony, Ted was cited for his commitment to local news. "Sylvester worked the small town news beat to perfection, covering everything from city council meetings to fires and shootings." A hall of fame plaque honoring Ted is included in a permanent display in the Journalism Department at the University of Maine at Orono.

Upon his retirement from the NEWS Ted became a state licensed private investigator and worked part time for the Atlas Agency of Rockland and later Bangor as writer and editor of its report department.

In 1989 Ted joined a group of five Rockland natives to form the Rockland Cooperative History Project that researched the history of Rockland during the years of World War II. He was one of three authors of the book "Home Front on Penobscot Bay: Rockland During the War Years 1940-1945." The book received widespread praise from Maine and national publications. All proceeds of the book were dedicated to a scholarship fund to benefit Rockland students.

Ted was past president of the Rockland Share the Pride Association. During this time he organized a project of honoring famous Rockland citizens, which resulted in a "Wall of Fame," currently hung at City Hall. He also served as secretary and vice president of the organization and was instrumental in organizing the Rockland Ambassadors, which conducted free walking tours of Rockland. He wrote a brochure detailing past and present points of interest along the waterfront. During his tenure as president, the naming and dedication of Snow Marine Park was accomplished. He also wrote "Citizen of the Month" features for the local media for several years. He was a member of the Rockland Lodge of Elks, where in 2005 and 2006 he wrote the 100-year history of the Rockland Lodge.

As a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, he served on the Administrative Council as its recording secretary; the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, serving one year as its chairman; and was editor of the monthly church newsletter. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Methodist Conference Home, Inc., where he served as vice president for two years. He also served on the Bartlett Woods Cooperative Board, as well as the Elder-Serve Board, being elected president in 2007. He was an incorporator of Northeast Health where he served on the Nominating Committee for several years. In 2001 he was appointed a trustee of the Anderson estate, established to provide scholarships for Owls Head students.

For 25 years he was president of his high school graduation class that planned class reunions every five years. In 1996 be became a member of the Mayflower Society of Maine after successfully researching his family genealogy that connected him to Mayflower Pilgrim John Howland.

In his spare time Ted enjoyed reading, television sports, and especially enjoyed playing pool with his sons and grandsons, as well as with friends at the Elks Lodge. Ted and his wife were avid county music fans, making several trips to Nashville, Tenn., and Branson, Mo. They also traveled extensively throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as several European and Central American countries.

A brother, Harlan Sylvester, predeceased him. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Natalie Sylvester of Owls Head; three sons, Scott Sylvester of Rockland, Steven Sylvester and his wife Barbara of Rockport, and Stuart Sylvester and fiancee Gwen Christman of Owls Head; four grandchildren, Matthew of Lubbock, TX; Brian of Rochester, N. H., Jacob and his wife Linda of Brunswick, and Danielle Sylvester Deal and her husband Haydn of Rockport; two great granddaughters, Alison and Kaitlin Sylvester of Brunswick; two sisters, Sandra Sylvester of Duluth, Ga., and Sara Tavares and her husband Gerald of Sun City West, Arizona, and Windsor Locks, Conn.; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Family and frineds are invited to visit from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Thursday, July 9, 2015 at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland; where a celebration of his life will be held at 1:00 PM, Friday, July 10, 2015. The Reverend Linda Campbell-Marshall willofficiate. Private interment will be held at Achorn Cemetery.

Those who wish may make memorial donations in Ted's memory to Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 15 Wesley Lane, Rockland, Maine 04841.

To share a memory or condolence with the Sylvester family, please visit their Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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