William R. Fleming ’56
Homosassa, FL, and Exeter – William Fleming “Bill,” passed in Homosassa, Florida, on July 27, 2023, after complications from a fall. He was born August 8, 1934, to Margureite and Fred Fleming. He graduated from Bangor High School where he was very active in school activities and he was on the football team.
He continued his education at Maine Maritime Academy before enlisting in the Navy as an officer stationed in Hawaii with our mother Janet Gooch Fleming (his high school sweetheart). Their first child was born there. Later, he taught history at Bangor High where he was an inspiration to many students and encouraged some to attend Maine Maritime. He later taught a year at Texas Maritime Academy, but the sea life kept calling him back, so he continued his career as a first mate in the merchant marines retiring as Captain. Bill always had interesting stories of his trips all over the world and enjoyed sharing them with his family. Back in the 60s he purchased a boat he named The Norumbega and chartered tours during the summer months on the Penobscot River and one summer in Pemaquid Maine. In the 70s he had a camp built on Branch Lake in Ellsworth. Dad married his second wife, Keli, on August 8, 1981, together they had a beautiful home in Exeter with a great hunting camp on the property. Two grandsons loved to hunt there and have great memories of walking in the woods and shooting their first deer. They had 4-wheelers and snowmobiles, so it was always fun to visit. They were snowbirds for a while and lived in Homosassa, Florida, for 6 months a year for many years. Tired of owning two houses they decided in 2019 to settle in Homosassa full time. Our father was a fun dad with a great sense of humor. He would tell scary stories to all the neighborhood kids in the backyard or chase us around with a nylon stocking on his head. We played many games of ping pong in the basement.
He was predeceased by his wife, Keli in 2020; a brother, Earl; sister, Fay Grand; and son-in-law, Don Simpson. He is survived by two daughters, Julia Simpson and her three sons, Brandon (Ugne), Lucas (Hannah), and Kyle (Mollie) Jellison, and Carol (Harland) Williamson and their 3 sons, Matthew, Scott (Kelsey), and Jamie (Kiersten); he has one brother, Steve (Connie) and their two daughters, Jessica and Meagan; a special niece, Janice; Keli’s two children, David (Julie) Ross and their children, Steven and Kim, and Julie Ross and her two sons, Brandon and Brian; 8 great-grandchildren; a special relative, Laura Jean Eckard; and special friends, Mark and Gail Peirce from their 30 plus years living in Exeter, Maine.
My sister and I are very grateful we were able to spend a lot of time this year with our dad in Florida. He loved his biscuits, gravy and grits so never passed up an opportunity to go out for breakfast. He was happiest sitting in the sun by the pool listening to his radio. A graveside event will be held Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. for both William and Keli at Crowell Cemetery in Exeter, Maine.