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Thomas Wentworth Hilyard

Oct 2, 1923 - Feb 6, 2017

Thomas's Story

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Pembroke - Thomas Wentworth Hilyard, of Pembroke, Maine, died peacefully on February 6, 2017, at his daughter's home in Washington State. He was 93 years old. Thomas was born in Eastport, Maine, in 1923, to George Thomas Hilyard and Annie May (Collins) Hilyard. He was the tenth of eleven siblings.
Thomas was a graduate from Shead Memorial High School. He moved to Boston shortly after graduation where he worked as a welder - a "stickman" - in the Boston Naval shipyards. His job was to be hoisted by crane to the crosstrees of battleships and aircraft carriers welding anemometers, wind vanes and other instruments into place.
In 1943, Thomas joined the Army Air Force. He was medically discharged from service following heart valve damage from rheumatic fever. Thomas was able to attend college thanks to the GI bill and earned his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Education at the University of Maine Orono. At UMO he became a member of the Alpha Zeta Agricultural Honor Society. Thomas received a Fulbright scholarship; earning his Master's degree in science education at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Thomas began his teaching career in Guilford, Maine. He taught earth science at Winthrop High School for nearly twenty years. In early 1970, Thomas moved his family to Florida, where he was head of the science department at Sarasota High School. Prior to retirement, he taught social science at Webster Middle School in Auburn, Maine.
A strong supporter of credit unions as they sought to be established in Maine,Thomas served as chairman at the Winthrop Credit Union for number of years and wrote numerous letters to congressmen and newspapers on their behalf. He was interested in co-operatives and gave generously to charities showing his support for the underdogs throughout his life.
On February 7,1948, Thomas married Jacqulyn R. Holmes, the love of his life. They raised four children and had many years to enjoy their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Tom and Jackie would have been married 69 years.
Thomas was predeceased by his wife and all of his siblings.He is survived by his four children and their families respectively: son,Thomas Holmes Hilyard, wife, Solange and granddaughter, Morgan; daughter, Jackie Martha Schillinger and grandaughters, Eden and Sara; daughter, Wende Olivia Hilyard and her dog pack; and son, Peter Wendell Hilyard, wife, Fern and grandchildren, Madeline, Hannah and Isaac. Thomas and Jackie were also blessed with nine great-grandchildren.
Thomas loved to read and was an avid gardener. Growing a decent melon was a lifelong challenge. He could often be seen tending to fruit trees, working garden beds or just enjoying the view of the bay from his front porch. With a good book, his straw hat and cigar, he was in his element. He will be greatly missed by all who knew his wit and charm.
A celebration of his life will be held this summer.
Published on  February 21, 2017 in
Bangor Daily News
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