OWLS HEAD — Douglas William Crute, 94, died peacefully Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Quarry Hill in Camden.

Born Aug. 27, 1927, in Cushing, he was the son of Frank Sr. and Ina Creamer Crute. He was educated locally attending both Cushing schools and Thomaston High School.

After leaving Cushing and setting out into the world, he settled in California, where he married and had two sons, Doug Jr. and Steve.

In 1976 he married Virginia Saastamoinen from Thomaston. He acquired two stepdaughters, Kristi and Karyl. Together he and Virginia moved to Richmond, Calif., where they lived until Doug retired in 1990. Following retirement, the couple returned to their beloved Maine.

As a young man, Doug began his long maritime career, attending Maritime Training School in Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., in 1944. Over the years he sailed many lines, including American Hawaiian, Military Sea Coastwise Line Transportation, Pacific Far East Line and Standard Oil, to name a few. From 1944 through 1966 he sailed for Sailors Union of the Pacific and Pacific Maritime Association.

Called up to active duty, Doug served from 1954 to 1956 as a private first class in the Army. He completed basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., and finished his time at Fort Eustis, Va.

Returning to civilian service, he worked for over 20 years for Crowley Maritime. At that time he held several positions for the Inland Boatman’s Union, including business agent and regional director.

Retiring to Maine, Doug continued his work on the water, filling in whenever he could for the Maine State Ferry Service as a deck hand and able bodied seaman.

Doug loved to travel and had many stories to tell. He visited every state in the U.S. and traveled around the world several times.

One of his greatest stories was at the age of 18, he survived a shipwreck. He told of the Army transport ship that was swept off course in a storm and struck a pinnacle of rock off a small island east of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. The seas washed off most of the vessel’s rafts and lifeboats. The two lifeboats that were still there were loaded with 35 men. The remaining 18 crewmen, including Doug, stayed in the wheelhouse. Due to the efforts of the Army transport and a Coast Guard vessel, all members of the crew were saved, including everyone in the two lifeboats.

Always active in the communities in which he lived, Doug has been a member of the Rockland Lodge of Elks, Apostle of the Sea Men’s Group in San Francisco, the Masons in San Francisco, Kora Temple in Lewiston, Thomaston American Legion and the Scottish Rites.

He was predeceased by his parents, Frank Sr. and Ina Crute; four brothers, Kenneth Crute, Harvey Crute, Frank Crute Jr., Donald Crute; a sister, Dorothy Snapp; his wife, Virginia Saastamoinen Crute, and his stepdaughter Kristi Dugas; Douglas is survived by his sons, Douglas Crute Jr. of California and Steven Crute of Nevada; his sister Ramona Ryckman of Cushing; stepdaughter Karyl Breen and her husband, Daniel, of Thomaston; grandsons Matthew Breen and his wife, Elizabeth, of South Thomaston, Adam Dugas of Rockport; granddaughter Katherine Breen of Thomaston; and four great-grandchildren, Bailey, Olivia and Tyler Breen of South Thomaston and Tiernan Dugas of South Thomaston.

A graveside celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, at Village Cemetery, Erin Street, Thomaston.

To share a memory or condolence with Doug’s family, visit their Book of Memories at bchfh.com. Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.

filed under: