Joseph O. Coolbroth Sr.

Apr 20, 2017
Joseph Coolbroth Sr.

Rockland — Joseph O. "Gump" Coolbroth Sr., 90, died Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport following an extended illness.

Born in Lynne, Mass., Dec. 20, 1926, he was the youngest of six children of Charles A. and Elizabeth Sweetland Coolbroth. At an early age, he moved to Tenants Harbor with his family. He attended local schools.

He was a World War II Navy Veteran and served aboard the U.S.S. Upshur.

Returning home, Gump hauled pulp wood a while before beginning his career as a commercial fisherman. Dec. 8, 1956, he married Gloria M. Curtis in Rockland. The couple made their home in Tenants Harbor most of their married lives.

He first worked independently as a lobsterman, and later as a commercial fisherman. For many years he captained commercial fishing vessels out of ports along the Eastern Seaboard. Gump was a hard worker all his life and continued working after his formal retirement in 2009, following more than 60 years of fishing.

In his younger years, Gump was recognized as a semi-pro boxer.

He enjoyed digging clams, picking crabmeat and did most anything associated with seafood or fishing.

He loved feeding the birds and animals around his home and enjoyed the challenge of keeping the squirrels from eating his bird food.

He was a member of the American Legion Post No.178, Waterville, and attended the Tenants Harbor Baptist Church.

For several years, Gump resided at the Methodist Conference Home, and more recently at the Knox Center, both in Rockland. He was known as a joker and was always flirting with his caregivers. Gump was devoted to all his family.

Other than his parents, Gump was predeceased by his wife, Gloria, in 2013; a daughter, Heather Coolbroth Bowring, in 1990; a stepson, Lawrence H. Wilson Jr., in 1997; a granddaughter, Shiloh Marie Meklin, in 2013; four siblings, Grace Morey, Eleanor Mosley, Arlene Thompson and Charles Coolbroth Jr., as well as his first wife and mother of five of his children, Esther L. Harriman.

He is survived by his children, Joseph O. Coolbroth Jr. of Waterville, Josephine L. Cushman and her husband, John, of Searsmont, Cynthia Pobelette and her husband, Salvadore, of Rockland, Mary Howard and her husband, David, of Rockport, Janice Wilson of Thomaston, Joyce Wilson of Tenants Harbor, Charlene Joy and her husband, Terry, of Rockland, Jennie L. Coolbroth of Westbrook; a sister, Jennie Payne, of Palo Alto, Calif.; a sister-in-law, Donna Coolbroth Maxwell, of Tennats Harbor; several sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law; 26 grandchildren; 52 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 26, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a celebration of Gump’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 27. Pastor Bill Hickey will officiate. A reception will follow at the funeral home’s 104 Limerock facility. A committal service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 4, at Seaside Cemetery, Tenants Harbor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the St. George Ambulance and Firefighters Association, P.O. Box 249, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860. To share a memory or story with Gump’s family, visit his Book of Memories at

Comments (2)
Posted by: MCH Inc. | Apr 21, 2017 07:46

Gump was an awesome man!  I have missed him here at MCH.  Teri...

Posted by: Penelope Alley | Apr 21, 2017 07:34

Gump was my dad's roomate at Knox Center and brought him much comfort in his last days. Every time I would stop in and visit Gump I would leave with a story to share.He was a wonderful man who loved his family. I hope your memories bring you comfort.Please know that my thoughts are with you.

Martha Alley

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