Norman Stanley

Oct 25, 2016
Norman Stanley

Owls Head — Norman Stanley passed away very peacefully Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, at Sussman House at the age of 100 with his family at his side. His longevity can be attributed to having Shredded Wheat every morning for breakfast, his strong family ties, and going to work every day for 55 years to a job he loved. He is the man who developed a way to extract carrageenan from seaweed and assisted what is now Marine Colloids/FMC to have a thriving business in Rockland.

Norman was born in 1916 and had many memories of living in Rockland, from watching the steady stream of wagons carrying lime in barrels down Limerock Street, to walking home to Broadway from Marine Colloids during the great fire of Rockland and seeing glowing embers fall from the sky like snow.

When he was a teenager, he and a friend would go to HH Crie Hardware store and purchase black powder to make firecrackers. The shopkeeper would scoop out the powder from a bin and say, “Now don’t you boys get into any trouble with this.” Of course, they did.

His father died one month before he graduated from high school. He was third in his class, but since Ruth Dondis (she was second) wanted to play a piano piece instead of speaking, Norman was asked to give the salutatorian address and he gave a humorous talk on “Fashion In Graduations.”

Due to his father’s passing, he was unable to afford college, and was the sole support for his mother. He worked odd jobs for the next four years until his former high school principal called him to say the Algin Corp. was looking for people and he thought Norman would be interested. Norman had been an amateur chemist in his home for a long time, and as a child even before he was old enough to handle real chemicals, he said he used to pretend to mix things together.

The job at the Algin Corp. was under Nick Pellicani and allowed Norman the chance to be a real chemist. He had read about a material called carrageenan, and he convinced his boss he should be allowed to find a way to extract it from seaweed. Right in the middle of that project, the Algin Corp. suffered a fire which burned most of the company to the ground. Norman was one of three employees to keep their jobs while the plant was rebuilt.

His office was one of the remaining sheds, and while he continued on the carrageenan experiments, he also had to run out and tend the boiler. He was successful in coming up with a method to extract the carrageenan and was awarded a patent for it, along with a payment from Marine Colloids of $1. He always said with a grin, “I was promised one dollar for the patent, but I never got the dollar.”

Carrageenan proved to be a very popular product for the company and it changed its name to Marine Colloids from The Algin Corp. to cover their expanded product line. Norman continued his work in the research lab and was able to work for the next 55 years at a job he looked forward to going to every day. He continued to learn on his own and was the answer guy for pretty much any problem that came up at the lab.

He took care of his mother until her death. He bought a house in Owls Head that he rebuilt and married the former Eleanor Payson Mathieson and took her two children, Craig and Susan, under his wing. At the dinner table, he was prone to reciting small poems or stories that he learned in school. He was thrilled to have a granddaughter, Heather, and was a big part of her early life. He joyfully watched her grind down every pencil in the house when she found out about his electric pencil sharpener. At all times, he was a loving, calm and wonderful father.

He had many interests and was a Hall of Fame member of the ‘First Fandom” group that started the science fiction craze back in the '30s. He was a member of the British Interplanetary Society, as well as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He loved to listen to classical music was a member of Bay Chamber Concerts, and for many years attended the Rockland Congregational Church.

He lived a good life and he will be missed by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Eleanor Stanley; children Susan Mathieson Dumond, Craig Mathieson; granddaughter Heather Dumond; and his nephew’s children, David Stanley, Larry Stanley, Debbie Washburn and Kathleen Gambrell.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at Ocean View Cemetery, Spruce Head Road, South Thomaston.

While flowers are welcome, those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, Ste. 2C, 383 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074, or the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, online at ccfa.org, or by mail at CCFA, 733 Third Ave., Ste. 510, New York, NY 10017.

To share a memory or story with Norman’s family, visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Jana M Eggen | Oct 26, 2016 12:26

Forever I will remember the time I spent talking with Norman, and the stories he shared about his childhood home on Broadway in Rockland.  I am beyond grateful for the short time I was able to share with this intelligent and kind man.   Rest in Peace Norman Stanley



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 25, 2016 17:16

What a wonderful obituary tribute who was apparently such an intelligent and intuitive man. His remaining family should be proud of his many accomplishments. Yes David, I too wish that he rest in peace!



Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Oct 25, 2016 14:17

RIP Norman Stanley!


A real loss for our local community and for the seaweed world in general.

 

I was fortunate enough to have known him. I was always impressed by Norman who had the least formal education but was one of the few professionals that truly understood the "Irish-moss" world.



One of the last remaining Titans of what once was Marine Colloids.



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