Thurman's Story

JONESPORT - Thurman "Sam" W. Gould Jr., 82, passed away on June 16, 2014. Thurman was the eldest son of Ivy and Thurman Gould Sr., and was born in Portsmouth, while his father was still in the U.S. Coast Guard.

He grew up in Jonesport and attended Jonesport schools, graduating from high school with honors in the class of 1949. While in school, Thurman was an accomplished athlete and excelled on the baseball diamond.

He completed his studies at the University of Maine, where he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering. Having completed ROTC in college, he entered the Army as an officer and was promoted to commander of the Nike Ajax missile battery at Carrollton, Va.

After leaving the military, he was employed by MacDonnell Douglas to oversee Nike Hercules missile installations in Europe. This was a high-pressure job on the front line of the Cold War, and "Sam" was outstanding in the eyes of the West German military officers, who called him "our American" and dubbed him Sam, after "Uncle Sam."

He spent 17 years there, meeting and eventually marrying his wife, Margaret. His travels with MacDonnell Douglas took him around the world, including Israel, where he developed a friendship with General Ehud Barak, who later became the Israeli Prime Minister.

Sam wanted to settle down with his family, so he requested a transfer to the U.S. MacDonnell Douglas recommended him to the space program and thus he became a part of the space exploration team that was being formed at Cape Kennedy under Rockwell International. Sam was one of three safety inspectors for STS-1, the maiden flight of the space shuttle Columbia. Though he was very proud of his work on "his bird," he left after the first launch to concentrate on his burgeoning solar business. For the better part of three decades, Sam was a pioneer and leader in the solar industry on the Space Coast, installing and servicing thousands of solar domestic and pool water heaters.

Sam was a tremendous storyteller. He loved to talk about his many adventures traveling and meeting interesting people. He never seemed to be alone, and would talk to and befriend complete strangers all the time. In 2004, he got to see his beloved Boston Red Sox finally win the World Series, something he had longed for his whole life. He was active in his community as well. For years he served on Titusville's Code Enforcement Board, including as chairman. He was a longtime member of the Sertoma Club, helping the community with many projects. Sam was also a Freemason.

Sam was predeceased by his parents; and brother, Keith. Sam is survived by his loving family, including his wife of 45 years, Margaret; their children, Nicole and David; six grandchildren; oldest daughter, Patricia Ann; Patricia's children; one great-grandson; one great-granddaughter; all of Tucson. Close to their hearts, he leaves LaVonne, his sister and younger brother, George, both of Waldoboro; and faithful dog, Cody.

Funeral services were held on June 21 at Newcomer Cremation, Titusville, Fla. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to our local and worthy hospice.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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