William E. Abbott ’45
BELFAST – William E. Abbott, 91, of Belfast, died at his residence Monday April 21, 2014.
He was born on Oct. 25, 1922, on Verona Island, to Carrie Justina (Burgess) and Merle Clifton Abbott. Bill attended elementary school in a one room school at the head of Verona Island. He attended high school at Bucksport High School, graduating in 1941 and then attended the University of Maine at Orono. From there, he transferred to the Maine Maritime Academy, graduating in 1945, with a Third Mate’s license of unlimited tons.
After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy he shipped out on tankers as a second and third mate. Late in 1946 he returned to Verona to work with his father as a first class pilot on the Penobscot Bay and River. He continued in the piloting profession for 54 years.
Bill was a 50 plus year member of the Felicity Lodge No. 19 AF & AM, also belonging to Kings Solomon’s Council, No. 1, R. & S.M., Waldo Chapter #7 R.A.M.; Palestine Commandery, No. 14 K.T. Belfast, and Anah Temple Shrine, Bangor. For several years Bill served as second selectman to the town of Verona Island.
On Sept. 15, 1956, Bill married Elizabeth Christine Horn of Stratford, Conn. They resided on Verona Island for one year and then moved to Belfast in 1957. Bill founded the Penobscot Bay and River Pilot’s Association and Governor Curtis appointed him as one of the first members of the Pilot Commission. Bill was instrumental in helping to start Camden Marine Radio, which connected ship’ radios to the mainland telephone system.
Bill was also president of the Searsport Port Committee and was a member of the following societies: Portland Marine Society, The Propeller Club of Searsport-Bucksport, and Penobscot Chapter if the MMA. He was a 50 year member if Belfast Rotary Club. Bill was a long time member of the First Church in Belfast, with two terms as a trustee and he headed up the 200th Campaign drive with wife, Betty, to rebuild the church steeple and make repairs to the church. Bill took a big interest in the Maine Retired Skippers Race as the president and sailing as skipper on Dr. Delehanty’s ketch ‘Wagon Box’ for 15 years. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary was another one of his extra duties for 20 years.
Bill was predeceased by his wife Betty in 2012; and his siblings, Richard Hopkins and Helen Patterson. He is survived by one daughter, Beth Abbott of Belfast and husband Timothy Place; two grandchildren, Amanda Elyse and Daniel William Place; and nieces Grace Hart and husband Robert Daigle of Verona Island, Susan and husband Dennis Carpenter and Aimee King. He was predeceased by his half brother, Richard S. Hopkins and half sister, Helen A. Hopkins.
Memorial services will be held at the First Church, 8 Court St., in Belfast at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Church of Belfast or the Penobscot Marine Museum.