William E. Daggett
Thomaston — William “Bill” Earl Daggett, 102, went home to be with his Lord May 5, 2014.
Bill was born Nov. 30, 1911, in Rockland, to Ollie and Evelyn York Daggett. Bill and Dorothy Margaret Efemey were married July 21, 1936 and celebrated 69 years together before Dorothy went to be with the Lord.
Living over a century, Bill lived through many of the ups and downs of this country and the world, but also the wonders of the automobile, aircraft and space travel. He was a very interesting storyteller and many of his stories were captured on tape by Wally Metcalf who didn’t want them to be lost. Tom Daggett, a grandson, also put a lot of work and research in making a video of Bill and Dot’s life for family keepsakes.
Bill, remembering the Great Depression, would often talk of those days when people were blessed to get any kind of job they could to feed their families. That work ethic always stayed with him which anyone who knew him could testify to. Bill worked at many occupations. As a boy, his father gave him a rifle and taught him to hunt rabbit and deer. He quickly became skilled in woods wisdom and how to “bring home the bacon," a necessity, not a luxury, in those days. He’d go eeling and catch a trout to put in the family well to keep the well clean, all things people of his generation took for granted as a way of life. He loved the solitude of the woods and would often spend nights alone camping, even curling up in a tree stump to sleep rather than quit early to get home. He never needed a compass as he had some God given gift that kept him from “getting turned around in the woods” as he said. He ran trap lines and tended them every morning before running down off the “mountain” as he called it to go to school in Rockland. At another spell when the neighbors needed help, still as a boy, he milked cows for the Tolman brothers on their dairy farm on West Meadow Road before he’d head off to school. He’d recall the old timers “up at the meadows” who worked with horse and team and when the winter snows filled the roads men shoveled out by hand to the point where the town could meet them. Bill’s love of the outdoors stayed with him his whole life. He disliked cities and was always restless until he could get back home to the county.
His best and inseparable friend from his youth was Bob Johnson and he and Bill’s brother Mac made a threesome who worked, hunted and camped in the woods together, rode Indian Chiefs and Harley’s, and did some daring games on the booms out over what were then dry quarries where Bill’s dad, Ollie, was a hoistman for Daggy’s Quarry, as the quarries were named after their hoistmen.
You made your own fun back then and some survived it. Bill was an Eagle Scout and lifeguard. About that time, he decided he wanted to learn Finnish so he visited Mike Brooks Sr. in the evenings and Mike kindly took the time to teach him the language. He worked at Fuller Cobb Davis in Rockland, loaded freight at boats in Rockland, worked as a chauffeur out of Lewiston for the widow of the international ambassador of the YMCA and worked at logging camps, all before he was married. After he and Dorothy married he worked at Snow’s Shipyard in charge of the electrical work and earned his Master Electrician’s License. He learned to wind motors, a rare skill, for F.J.Ohara’s fishing boats. For a time he was also a boatbuilder. He was always thankful that everywhere he worked, someone was willing to teach him new skills and he always named them and gave credit to them. He learned to play violin from a gifted violinist and dear friend, Al Marsh, and then played at dances all around for years with Earl Maxcy’s Band. For a time he fished off of Georges Banks on scallop draggers. He worked on steamships for the Eastern Steamship Company and later captained a private yacht between Boston and Maine. He earned Able Seaman papers.
He finished out his working career with many years at the Dragon Cement Plant in Thomaston before retiring at the age of 65. While at the Cement Plant, several young engineers from Indonesia came to live and work at Dragon and Bill and Dot loved having them in their home but Chenot Santoso “San,” became family, a very special, lifelong treasured friend and visited when he could, bringing his wife, Liam and children several times after returning to Indonesia. Once again, Bill wanted to learn a new language and San taught him to be fluent in Indonesian. Long before retiring though and while still at the plant, Bill opened Daggett’s Sport Shop where many local boys, by now grandfathers, bought their first guns, sighted them in on his rifle range and talked hunting stories. Needless to say, Bill taught his own family to love the woods and how to hunt and fish. Bill also served as the Civil Air Patrol Captain in Owls Head, involved in search and rescue for downed or missing planes, and trained cadets that came through the group. He led the largest cadet group Owls Head ever had. A good friend and great local aviator, Arthur Harjula, had taught Bill to fly tail draggers on the old racetrack where now stands Applebee’s and the hotel and cinema. That began a family tradition of flying including commercial and military licenses.
Bill never wanted to “rust," so when he was in his 60s, he learned to ride horseback at Hill and Dale, took English night classes in Rockland, studied Spanish and took a trip to Newfoundland to hunt moose and caribou. In his 70s he took the trip he’d wanted all his life, a trip to Africa with his son-in-law. No hunting, just photographing and enjoying the wildlife. Bill had always been an avid reader all his life and had read everything he could get his hands on concerning Africa. Then another dream trip, salmon fishing in Alaska with another son-in-law and grandsons.
Bill was a 72-year-member of the Orient Lodge No. 15 in Thomaston. They honored him with presentations on his 100th birthday and have never missed an opportunity to honor his years as a Mason.
Bill was a member of the Thomaston Baptist Church for 70-plus years, served as a deacon and a Sunday School teacher for the adult class. He also took care of the church furnace for 27 years. It is impossible to relate how much of his life this was but after he became a Christian at age 40, he never looked back. He spent one hour every morning reading his Bible before he would eat breakfast, and made time every morning year-round in any weather to walk to a place in his apple orchard and give God thanks for the healing he received in his lungs in that place as he prayed. Above all, Bill would want his Lord, Jesus Christ, to be glorified and he would want his family to know how much he loved and treasured them.
Bill is predeceased by his wife of 69 years, Dorothy, a son, Dr. Lloyd I. Miller, a granddaughter, Rachel Dorothy Daggett, and a brother, Malcolm Daggett.
He is survived by his sons, Malcolm Arthur Daggett (with wife Corinne) of Cushing and Wesley James Daggett (with wife Phyllis), also of Cushing; and his daughters Sandra M. Atwood (with husband William D Atwood) of South Thomaston and Fran Robinson (with husband Frederick Robinson) of Thomaston. He has 20 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren as well as his nephew William (Billy) Daggett and Billy’s family of Thomaston.
A very special thanks must be given to Myron Preston, a cherished friend, member of the hunting gang, brother in Christ and co-worker at Dragon who tended out on Bill at the Camden Hills Villa this past winter closer than a brother could have. The staff and residents at the Villa were truly very kind and we also thank you. When Bill returned home this spring, Pat Wilson deserves special thanks for his kindness and care and without whom, we could not have brought Bill back to his beloved home of 70 years. We also could not have brought him back home without the all out, full steam ahead work of Tom Daggett and David and Luke Noonan working double time and over time pulling a lot of plumbing and carpentry together to make Bill’s house over to be livable on one floor. Jessie Bucchanen , thank you for your great cooking and kindness. And Paula Upham and Jackie Sanborn, and Dr. Brian Pierce and Dr. Van, because of you and Pat and granddaughter Allison’s nursing skills and Pastor Wayne Sawyer’s love and the huge hearts of you all and the determination to stick with our family to the very end, our family was able to finish well, participate in giving him a loving goodbye and Dad died in his own home as he wanted surrounded by family who had driven and flown many hundreds of miles to be with him.
Thanks to the people of Thomaston, the town he hated to leave even briefly, for your very evident love for Bill. You watched him mow his lawns, drive his pickup truck ‘til he was 101 years old, joked with him, respected him, kept track of his Christmas lights in the window and just expressed love to him in so many different ways. Thank you.
Thank you also to Hall Funeral Homes for their kindness, gentleness and skill at helping us navigate through our transitions at this time.
A funeral service will be held to celebrate Bill’s life Saturday, May 10, 4 p.m. at Thomaston Baptist Church, Main Street, Thomaston. Burial will follow at the Village Cemetery in Thomaston. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jews For Jesus, Bill’s favorite Christian ministry with whom he shared many years of personal relationship and correspondence.
You are invited to share your condolences with the family by visiting their Book of Memories at hallfuneralhomes.com. Hall’s of Thomaston, 78 Main St., Thomaston, Maine is caring for the family.