Frederick T. Jeffery Jr., 97

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PORTLAND — Frederick Talbot Jeffery Jr., 97, of Portland, died Dec. 20, at his residence surrounded by his loving family.

He was born April 27, 1918, in Portland. In 1936, Jeffery graduated from South Portland High School, where he ran track all four years. In the late 1930s he was a member of the 19th Division Naval Reserve. Jeffery graduated from Gorham Normal School (now the University of Southern Maine) in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science degree. While at the Gorham Normal School, he was a member of the cross-country and track teams, and was a captain his last year of college. Jeffery was also president of the Alpha Beta Lambda fraternity and treasurer of the Glee Club. He received a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University.

Following graduation, he went into the Marine Corps and was assigned to the 3rd Amphibious Corps, where he fought in battles for Bougainville, Guam and Okinawa. He was then sent to Tientsin, China to participate in the Japanese surrender in north China. For his service, he received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three gold stars, Navy Commendation Ribbon, China Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and Victory Medal.

Following the war he took a job in 1946 at North Elementary School in Portland, where he taught for 27 years and advanced to become the principal of the school. During that time Jeffery also became area principal of North and Woolson schools; eventually he was the area administrator for Lyseth and Peary Schools.  In the late 1950s he taught science classes on television for the Maine Public Television network. He also taught evening classes to immigrants at Portland High School, summer math classes at Deering High School and was the education director for Project Headstart in Portland from 1967-69. 

He was a certified national and state track official, and officiated meets at the Portland Exposition building and at state and regional state meets for more than 56 years. His achievements in officiating culminated when the open mile champion trophy was named the Frederick T. Jeffery Jr. Trophy at the Southwestern Maine Track Championships.

Jeffrey was a member of the Stewart P. Morrell American Legion Post 35, where he served as post commander and adjutant; Portland Elks Lodge 188; and the Woodfords Club, where he was in a bowling league. He also enjoyed bowling in the senior citizen’s league at Big Twenty Bowling Lanes.

He enjoyed building model aircraft, going to Marine Corps reunions, spending summers with his family at his camp in Windham, traveling at home and abroad, and collecting books and videos on World War II.

Jeffery left an indelible mark on the students, staff and parents he met throughout his years in the Portland Public Schools. He was dedicated to education and instilling his students with the traits of good citizenship, respect for knowledge, and fine moral precepts.

He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Barbara Ellen Kane Jeffery, and his brothers Harry and Harlan.

Survivors include three daughters, Barbara McHarg, of Topsham, Ann Marie Jeffery-Corbett, of Old Orchard Beach and Mary Verville, of Portland; five sons, Frederick M. Jeffery, of Portland, Brian Jeffery, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Peter Jeffery, of Portland, Paul Jeffery, of Portland and Stephen Jeffery, of South Portland; a sister, Della Knezienski, of Vacaville, California; 11 grandchildren, Shannon McHarg, of Brunswick, Laura McHarg, of Reno, Nevada, Patrick, Anthony, and Micary Verville, all of Portland, Christopher and Berlian Jeffery, of Oklahoma City, Brendan, of Standish and Sean, Kateri and Beau Jeffery of Windham; three great-grandchildren, Julian McHarg-Goepner, of Reno, Evelyn and Caraline Hanscom, of Brunswick; and many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Dec. 23, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery.