George R. Robishaw
Rockland — George R. Robishaw, 94, died peacefully, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at Togus VA Hospital.
Born in Rockland, Feb. 6, 1920, he was the eldest of 12 children of Herbert J. and Georgia Springer Robishaw.
When he was in the fourth grade, George could not read. His teacher, Susie Sleeper once said to him, “George, before you leave my class I am going to teach you to read.” When he left fourth grade, he was reading. She did a good job as he became a reader, to the public and in the church. He graduated from Rockland High School, Class of 1939, and furthered his education earning certificates from the University of Maine, American Bakers Association and Dunn and Bradstreet.
Prior to World War II, he worked at the Strand Theatre as an usher and later at Old Orchard Beach as a night clerk at the Vermont Hotel. George later worked operating a power shovel for his father, who was building the Brunswick Navel Air Station. After completion of that job, he returned to Rockland and worked for Round Top Farms. He became manager of the Rockland branch of that company where he worked until the beginning of World War II.
In 1941 he married his high school sweetheart, Joan Philbrook. They were married nearly 60 years, at the time of her death Jan. 7, 2000. The couple had two children, Albert and Mary.
From 1944 to 1946, after Naval training at Sampson, N.Y., George was assigned to the USS Narragansett AT88, positioned at that time in Naples, Italy. George soon earned the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class Yeoman handling all correspondence and record keeping aboard his ship assigned to the fleet. George saw action in southern France, earning a Bronze Star. When that action was over, his ship was sent to the Pacific to prepare for the invasion of Japan. While George was in the Pacific, the Atomic Bomb was dropped, ending the war. He continued service in the US Naval Reserves for eight years.
Returning to Rockland after the war, for several years George worked with the Railway Express Agency, ultimately earning the position of Acting Agent covering various offices in Maine. For a brief time he worked for Maine Central Railroad and the next three years worked with Sealtest Foods out of Rockland. He then began employment at the Rockland Branch of the First National Bank of Portland in 1961. After three years, he was appointed an officer of the bank and retired from Maine National Bank as an operations manager in 1983.
The thing that pleased George most was helping the mentally and physically handicapped. He joined a group of parents in Camden working to help mentally and physically handicapped children and adults, which became the Camden Association for Handicapped Children, and later Coastal Workshop, now known as Coastal Opportunities. He served on the Board of Directors for many years, and became an honorary member of the Board. With his wife, Joan, he was instrumental in bringing Special Education into the public schools. Along with other community members, George formed the Camden Handicapped Association. Until his death, he remained an honorary director and a respite care facility is named in his honor.
He was involved in various capacities with the March of Dimes, served as treasurer of the PTA and helped start hot lunch programs offered in public schools, Arthritic Foundation and Boy Scout Troop 216 in Rockland.
Connected with the American Legion since 1931, when he was the first mascot for the Drum and Bugle Corps, George was a life member of the Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt American Legion, Post No. 1 in Rockland. He served as treasurer, past commander and adjutant of that Post. He enjoyed helping veterans in need, either by 'serving time' at Togus, helping veterans go to church services, or just for a ride. He was also a longtime member of Rockland Memorial Post No. 2499, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
A dedicated member of St. Bernard's Catholic Church, he served many years as a Lector and as an acolyte for funeral masses. He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus Limerock Council 136 since 1953, holding all offices in that order as well as serving as financial secretary. Joining fellow Knights, George worked on the building of Stella Maris and served several years as treasurer of that building. For many years he and Joan assisted with the St. Bernard's Soup Kitchen, which in recent years was dedicated in his honor.
In recognition of his years of community service, George was twice honored at the Blaine House by Maine's governors. He received numerous awards for valuable contributions made to organizations he served and positions he held.
A loving husband, father, and grandfather, George was dedicated to his family. He was always willing to assist people and never shied away from an opportunity to help others.
Other than his parents and eight siblings, George was predeceased by his wife, Joan Jan. 7, 2000, his daughter, Mary J. Bragan Aug. 2, 2000, and his son Albert J. Robishaw March 22, 2008. He is survived by four grandchildren, Darell and Cyndi Griffin of Wesley Chapel, Fla., Lisa and Clyde Allen of Washington, Terry and Michael Lawson of Chelsea, Ann and Jason Upham of Warren; two brothers and spouses, Donald and Ercell Robishaw of Rockland, Earl and Nadine Robishaw of Cushing; one sister, Gertrude Dinsmore of Idaho; 10 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit Wednesday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a Prayer Service will be conducted by the Knights of Columbus at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, March 6, at 11 a.m. at St. Bernards Catholic Church, 150 Broadway, Rockland. Spring interment will be in Coughlin Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Bernards Soup Kitchen, 7 Union St., Camden, ME 04843, or Coastal Opportunities, 35 Limerock St., Camden, ME 04843.
To share a memory or condolence with George’s family, please visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com.