Samuel D. Sewall, 94, passed away January 1, 2011 in Vero Beach, FL surrounded in love by family to be with his Heavenly Father and the dear ones who passed before him. Sam was born in 1916 in Island Falls , Maine in a home built on honor by his grandfather, ‘Bill’ Sewall, in the 1860s for his wife Mary Sherman Sewall. The second son of Merrill and Myrtle T. Sewall, Sam learned many of life’s most valuable lessons at the knees of his father and grandfather.
Sam graduated from Island Falls High School , declining the honor of valedictorian because he disliked public speaking. Years later he gave a wonderful speech of sponsorship for his grandson, Eagle Scout Timothy Kennett. A true outdoorsman, he was a registered Maine Guide at age twelve and bagged his first deer that same year. His first real paying job at fifteen was canoeing dynamite up the West Branch of the Penobscot to Mt. Katahdin . Much of his time was spent helping the family run sporting camps on Mattawamkeag Lake , where years earlier men like Theodore Roosevelt came to learn from Sam’s father and grand father Bill. It was a much simpler way of life then with the woods, water and field providing sustenance and a strong work ethic that was passed down from earlier generations. During WWII, Sam and his brother Gene moved to the southern part of Maine—Gene enlisted in the Air Force and Sam worked in the Saco-Lowell foundry—work of such excellence that he was deferred from military service. During the war years Sam earned his pilot’s license along with his cousins Wingate and Emlen. During this time Sam often traveled to spend weekends in Warner, N.H. and while attending church in Raymond N.H., he saw a pretty girl singing in the choir, his beloved Audrey. Sam got along famously with Ruth Carver, and often saying a man should find a mother-in-law that he liked and then marry one of her daughters. Sam went on to marry Ruth’s only daughter. In September of 1940, set in a beautiful backdrop of pines and white glads, they embarked on the first of 55+ years together. Many years later, Sam faithfully cared for Audrey during her long descent into Alzheimer’s disease. Two daughters and six years after they married, doctors told Sam his lungs were filled with iron dust and he should get out of the foundry, he packed his small family and moved back to Hook Point on Mattawamkeag Lake. His parents were struggling to run sporting camps and a boys’ camp at that time. For the two years prior to 1949, Sam and his family lived quite self sufficiently taking care to be good stewards of the environment as best they knew how. After moving to town, Sam worked for many years as a carpenter building homes, crafting beautiful furniture, using whatever was at hand to repurpose materials rather than discard them. He was also the go-to-guy for anything mechanical, electrical or constructional. No wonder that, as he worked for and with Wilson and Mary Palmer at the Island Falls Hardware store, he’d found his niche. Whatever he did, he gave 110% effort, never expecting a thing in return. He was a truly generous soul who would give you the shirt off his back, if he thought you were in need. Donna, the daughter of his cousin Harriett said of him, “He was the kindest, smartest, man, always eager to learn new ways, curious about life, totally self sufficient as many Mainers, who know how it is to do with, and have little, are.” And a friend Chip said of him, your father was one in a million, a true friend and caring person, and everyone was equal. Sam loved the outdoors and Mattawamkeag Lake , hunting, fishing and gardening, but most of all he loved his family. He was an enthusiast of 4 wheeling, snowmobiling, reflector oven biscuits, beanpole beans, homemade ice cream, pies and pastries. He will long be remembered for his kindness to children, great sense of humor, the telling of wonderful stories and poetry. He will also be remembered for his truly indomitable spirit and love of his fellow man. Sam was a third degree mason and served 30+ years as a volunteer fireman, and eventually becoming fire chief. He was also a valued member of the Whitttier Congregational Church, where he served as deacon, summer chocolate ice cream maker, and Lenten breakfast bacon cooker.
He is survived by two daughters, Gail and John Kennett of Scarborough, Cheryl and Peter Connelly of Carthage, MO; grandchildren, John Kennett and wife Mairi, Allison Conti and husband Adam, all of Scarborough, Jamie Connelly of Fort Worth, TX, and Peter Connelly, of Ghent, Belgium; great grandchildren Nicholas and Patrick Kennett of Scarborough, Marie and Francis Connelly of Ghent, Belgium; his niece ,Nancy R. Stacey of Lantana, Fl, as well as many dear cousins, friends and family. He was predeceased by his parents and beloved wife, Audrey; grandson, Timothy D. Kennett; brothers William and Eugene Sewall; and nephew David Sewall.
A graveside memorial service will be held in August at the Island Falls Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to make a memorial gift in Sam’s memory may do so to the Whittier Congregational Church, P.O .Box 404, Island Falls Maine 04747 or to Island Falls Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 100, Island Falls, Maine 04747.