YARMOUTH — Charles E. “Stick” Stickney Jr., 89, died Dec. 3, following a fall while hanging holiday garlands over the door of Cutter House – the home he loved.
Stickney was a man of intense energy and many passions. He was passionate about work and giving back to the community. He was devoted to his wife of 63 years, Anita, and to his children and grandchildren. His boundless energy gave credence to the catch-phrase among many of his octogenarian friends that “80 is the new 60.”
He grew up in Portland as one of eight children and attended Deering High School graduating in 1940. Majoring in mechanical engineering he later attended the University of Maine. In 1943 he interrupted his educated to join the U.S. Navy and became a naval aviator, flying torpedo bombers; he ultimately graduated from the University of Maine in 1946.
In 1948, Stickney married Anita Cooper, with whom he had four children. Later, in 1951, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserves, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before formally leaving the U.S. Navy in 1956 when he bought the Deering Ice Cream Corporation from his father. He was very passionate about the ice cream shop, and ice cream, and typically worked six days a week until retiring in 1989.
His family will remember him as never doing anything halfway. Stickney firmly believed in giving back to the community and did so through volunteering and philanthropy. Among many other contributions, he was instrumental in founding the Maine Chapter of the Navy League, and for putting on clambakes for the Blue Angels and hundreds of guests when they came to Maine for an air show. After retiring he became active in SCORE, the Service Corps for Retired Executives, and in the IESC International Executive Service Corps.
For several years he was on the Board of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He was a staunch supporter of the University of Maine, especially the College of Engineering, and was an active part of the univesity’s development council.
His love of being on the water led him to become a docent at the Maine Maritime Museum. Also very dedicated to Portland, he supported many Portland institutions such as the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, and the recent construction of the fountain at Deering Oaks Park.
Cutter House, the 1730 colonial house where he and his wife lived, was another one of his passions; he was always working on the house, painting the whole thing himself up until this year. He kept bees on the property for nearly 60 years and still snowblowed the walkways himself.
While he enjoyed many activities, his longest enduring passion was skiing, fed in his youth by becoming a bellhop in North Conway so he could ski Mt. Cranmore. He had all of his children on skis by the age of three, and for the past 30 years, he and his wife went to Europe with their friends to ski every January until he broke his hip skiing in France at the age of 87.
Stickney never stopped learning, and a deepened interest in theology led him to take courses at Bangor Theological Seminary’s Portland Campus. He was a regular at “senior college” at the Osher Lifelong Learning Center at USM.
His friends and family were very dear to him and he kept in touch with many of his friends from the college and the U.S. Navy as well as members of “the group” – half a dozen couples from various ice cream companies he met while on the Board of International Ice Cream Manufacturers Association.
He was a man of drive and passion, as well as many contradictions. His frugal Yankee character meant he held onto work clothes that were threadbare, but when convinced of the merits of a cause or civil project, he thought nothing of pulling out his checkbook to make it happen. Stickney adamantly taught his children about hard work and perseverance, but also that it was important to have other activities to be passionate about.
Predeceased by his father Charles E. Stickney and his mother Medora Haskell, brother Henry Stickney, sisters Olivia McCrum, Margery Woodbury, Patricia Davis, and his grandson Peter Stickney.
He is survived by his wife, Anita; sisters Virgina “Ginny” Cooper of Wiscasett and Hortence “Horty” Warren of New Providence, N.J.; brother Frederick Stickney and his wife Lorraine of Standish; children Andy Stickney and his wife Annie McBratney of Cape Elizabeth, Anne Stickney and her husband Nick Waugh of Peru, Alice Stickney of Ester, Ark., Beth Stickney and her husband Ken Kunin of Rome, Italy; and seven grandchildren and their families.
A memorial service was held on Dec. 13 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral, 143 State St., Portland, followed by a reception in the parish hall. Burial will take place in the spring of 2012 in Riverside Cemetery in Yarmouth.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Center for Grieving Children, P.O. Box 314, Portland, ME 04104 or to Maine Handicapped Skiing, 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, ME 04261.