MILLINOCKET - Weldon Bryant Astle passed away Oct. 11, 2014. He was surrounded by his family at home in the same house where he was born July 31 ,1926. Weldon was the son of Tyler and Amy (Surrette) Astle, and was predeceased by his two older brothers, Peter and Warren and younger sister, Charlene. He was an avid outdoorsman and spent a great deal of his life in the woods surrounding Millinocket.
Weldon left high school at 16 to join the U.S. Marines, serving in the Pacific during World War II and he re-enlisted to serve in Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, he worked as a painter and steeplejack in Rochester, NY. This is where he met the love of his life, Donna Haigh Astle. This union was blessed with five daughters.
Weldon returned to Millinocket, where he continued to work as a painter, paper hanger and for the school system. He served on the fire department's Pioneer Hose Company from 1960 to 1989, and assisted the Baxter State Park search and rescue team that went out in any weather to rescue lost and injured hikers. He loved the North Woods and had many adventures hiking and camping with family and friends. His exploits were legendary, such as the time he skied down Mt. Katahdin. He was filled with stories of long treks, paddles and portages on his way to find just the right fishing spot or spring with good sweet water. Weldon was a lifelong learner; his curiosity and natural inquisitiveness made for fascinating conversations in a wide range of subjects. His accomplishments were honored by family and friends when he was given a high school diploma, complete with School of Life graduation ceremony at his beloved camp on North Twin Lake. Although set in his ways, he would surprise us with his openness of mind. His loved ones miss his dignity, humor and humility. His example will live on and continue to inspire.
He is survived by his wife, Donna; daughters Amy Astle Pease of Millinocket, Lori MacKenzie and partner Steve Onacki of Biddeford and Patricia and husband Roy Evans, of New Bern, NC.; son-in-law, William Radon of Glen Ellyn, IL; and grandchildren Sara MacKenzie and husband Bryan Blatt, Tyler and wife Chelsea, Hannah Pease; Kyle, Andrew and Paige Radon, and Natalie Evans. He was predeceased by daughters Elizabeth Astle and Susan Radon and grandson Ryan MacKenzie.
A service to celebrate Weldon's life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Millinocket Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Baxter State Park, 64 Balsam Dr., Millinocket, ME 04462 or the Ronald McDonald House, Bangor.