Melvin B. Wallace, obituary

Mon, 10/23/2023 - 1:30pm

FRIENDSHIP — Melvin Benjamin Wallace, 90, of Friendship, passed away at Togus V.A. Hospice in Augusta, Maine on July 18, 2023.

Dad quietly suffered the symptoms of what was recently diagnosed as esophageal cancer. He was hospitalized 4 weeks before his death and received excellent care. His diagnosis was the worst news of his life yet he kept his wit and sense of humor becoming a favorite patient of wing 3 North. He kept the nurses busy and laughing with his antics and wit. Their names were listed on his dry erase board by order of his preference and they joyfully competed for spot #1.

Born Oct. 28, 1932, just a short distance east of his longtime home in Friendship, he was the only child of Alton M and Gertrude L (Creasey) Wallace. The home he was raised in became his own when he returned to care for his elderly parents. He was a devoted son caring for them until their passing and lovingly tending flowers at their grave each year.

Dad enlisted in the Army on Feb. 16, 1951. He served during the Korean War in France and Germany and was honorably discharged Feb. 1, 1954. He was a member of the Friendship VFW Post #3095 for over 30 years, serving as Chaplain when needed. He was greatly saddened to see his VFW dissolve as members passed away and membership dwindled. He was also a member of the American Legion in Thomaston for 50 years and donated to various organizations, supporting veterans, throughout his life. 

Dad worked for Wotton’s Floor Covering, of Rockland, for 15 years installing flooring in many businesses and homes on the mainland and islands nearby. He learned this trade on the job and when Wotton’s closed struck out on his own to start Mel’s Flooring. Dad was later introduced to Warren Barrel Co. and began his career as a cooper. He loved this craft and when the company was sold he set up his barn in Friendship and called it Mel’s Cooper Shop. He built cedar barrels and tubs for Maine Bucket, Cedar Works, Warren Barrel and to sell to anyone who needed a genuine cedar barrel. He also repaired barrels that people brought to his shop.  Along with coopering he took on a courier route for Damariscotta Bank & Trust delivering bank documents from branch to branch. 

Dad lived a simple life without material things and wealth. He enjoyed playing croquet, the Owls Head Transportation Museum, spending time with family, friends and eating good food. He was very clever with duct tape, bungie cords, zip ties, elastics, springs and clamps and clips of all sizes. He could make something out of nothing and occasionally nothing out of something! He faithfully read the Bangor Daily News, the Upper Room, his bible and a word search puzzle was always by his chair. His hobby of recording with cassettes left us a treasure box of voices we haven’t heard in decades.  

There were some special friends in his life. His neighbor Earl Bachelder always kept an eye out for Dad, plowing snow, mowing grass, doing home repairs and coming to the rescue in an emergency. Eugene Leino was an Army buddy who lived in Norway Me with his wife Avis. They kept in touch and visited each other from time to time. After Eugene passed Avis and Dad spent several years enjoying jigsaw puzzling, coloring pages and a bit of site seeing. He enjoyed flea markets with Warren Sylvester, visiting Arthur Adams, his friends at the VFW, Dick Hastings who shared a courier route with him and many more. Most of his friends passed before him and he kept their obituaries out of respect.

He is survived by his children, Henry Wallace of Maryland, Cynthia Harris and her husband Andrew of Warren, Leon Wallace of Hope, a bonus daughter, Deanna (Davis) Guruge of New Hampshire and the mother of his children Anna-Gay (Ames) Sellars of Owls Head. His grandchildren are Heidi (Harris) Lash of Friendship and Shawn Wallace of Union. Bonus granddaughters (Deanna’s girls) Devanne and Teischan Guruge. He still considered Deidre (Doherty) Wallace of Union his daughter-in-law and her daughter Jana Doherty a grandchild. 

Dad was delighted to have 7 great grandchildren: Heidi and Isaac Lash’s family of Anderson Lopez-Harris, Ivy Lash, Paul Wallace Lash and Clayton Lash. Shawn Wallace’s family of Sydne Wallace, Theodore Melvin Wallace and Raegan Wallace. 

He was predeceased by great granddaughter Harper Wallace.

There will be a celebration of life for Dad on Nov, 4, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Hahn Community Center, in Friendship. Come and share a memory and a potluck meal. 

Dad loved flowers but would rather have donations made in his memory to the Town of Friendship Library Expansion Fund or the Friendship Fire Dept., both with the address of PO Box 207 Friendship ME 04547. 

Contact Cindy Harris at 273-3553 with questions.