Merrill R. Webber

Jan 09, 2020
Merrill Webber

Matinicus — Merrill Raymond Webber left on his hunting and fishing trip Nov. 24, 2019. He was born in Portland June 13, 1955, to Kenneth and Barbara (Merrill) Webber. He grew up in Hatchville, Mass. on Cape Cod.

After graduating Lawrence High School in Falmouth, Mass., he went on to Wentworth Institute in Boston, where he got his degree in Building Construction.

He wanted to go lobstering on Matinicus after high school, but his grandmother said he had to have “something in his back pocket” in case lobstering didn’t work out. He worked summers while in school for Bob Hampton, whom he credits for teaching him to be a skilled carpenter.

Merrill moved to the island and started out as a sternman for Albert Bunker. He bought a small outboard and a few traps to haul on days he wasn’t with Albert. He later bought his great Uncle Vernon’s boat with a spray hood. In a couple years he was ready for a larger boat and found, in Belfast, Albert’s old boat that he had first worked on. His last boat, the Laurie Lee, was a 35 ft Duffy.

On Matinicus, he met and married Laurie Rogers, his soulmate from the start. Together they had two children, Derek and Lindsay. After several years on the island, they moved to the mainland.

Merrill went fishing for several years with his friend Craig Hupper of Tenants Harbor. Later he started his carpentry business, Webber Construction. He did work on the mainland but most of his work ended up being on Matinicus where he did a lot of renovations as well as new construction. His “art” can be seen all over the island. Merrill and Laurie spent time on the island in the house where his children are fifth generation owners. On the mainland they built a home together in Spruce Head.

Merrill loved the outdoors. When not working, he was probably fishing in a canoe with his friend Harvey Seibert and son Derek or up north with his many hunting buddies.

Most years he and his cousins, whom he said were more like brothers, Gary and Steve Merrill, went on fishing trips on Labor Day weekend. Later, this included their sons. In the past few years he enjoyed bird hunting with his dog Barley often with friend Alan Miller.

Merrill started hunting over fifty years ago with his childhood friends, J.P. Kamataris, Earl “Chiefie” Mills Jr. and best friend Wes Gregory. He and Wes never missed a hunting season together in forty-nine years. Wes created a hunting camp on his farm in upstate N.Y. It was Merrill’s goal to make it back there this year and he did. It is a place of many hunting memories, and a source of great pride for both to know that their sons have become close friends and will be carrying on the traditions there.

As a father, he also passed on a gift to his children to make more island memories with the purchase of a wharf and two shops on the Matinicus. It was a great source of joy for him this summer to help Derek build benches in one of the shops.

Merrill took a course in taxidermy a few years ago. He enjoyed doing fish and game birds and did it mostly for friends. When he built his garage, he added on a studio to show his taxidermy in. His teacher, Bill Gray, became another friend, but sadly passed away this summer also of cancer.

In 1969, there was a gathering at Yasgar’s farm in Vermont. That weekend, Merrill and some buddies climbed into a VW bug and headed for the concert. He said he couldn’t see the bands, hardly heard the music, and the mud and rain were something else. But it was his claim to fame. He was at Woodstock!

Merrill was very proud of the many friends he had and he kept in touch with them. He did not like computers or cell phones but every night he usually made a couple of phone calls by “land line” to someone. There are too many to list but he cared so much about you all. He loved to hear what was going on and to share a good story. And there are many of those. He had lots of adventures. He told Laurie that he was happy with all he had done. He was especially happy with his family.

Merrill will be remembered for his work ethic, which he took great pride in but also for his love of having fun. We will miss his sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife Laurie of Spruce Head and Matinicus; son Derek and his wife, Kelly, of St George and Matinicus; daughter Lindsay and her husband, Bryce, and grandson Grady of Thomaston and Matinicus; sister Heide and her husband, Alan Kilpatrick, of Middleboro, Mass.; parent-in-laws Charlie and Donna Rogers of Matinicus; brother-in-law Charles Rogers Jr. (Sam) of Matinicus; and sister-in-law Kristy, her husband, Tom McKibben, and niece, Eleanor, of Freeport.

A service and celebration of his life will be held on Matinicus in the spring. Donations may be made to the Matinicus Congregational Church 311 Seal Harbor Road Spruce Head, ME 04859, the Maine Seacoast Mission 127 West St Bar Harbor, ME 04609 or the MW Island Medical Transport Fund in care of Penobscot Island Air PO Box 273 South Thomaston, ME 04858. Checks for this fund may be made out to PIA.

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