Herbert A. Thulen, 85: Founded early drive-in restaurant

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BRUNSWICK — Herbert A. Thulen, 85, formerly of Bath Road, died Nov. 22 at Horizons Living Center after a brief illness.

He was born in Gardiner on June 4, 1928, a son to Albert and Vivian Thulen of Farmingdale. He attended Gardiner schools and graduated from Bentley College in Massachusetts with the class of 1950.

On July 24, 1950, he married Charlotte E. Choate at Hallowell Baptist Church.

While in school in Gardiner, Thulen had worked for the A & P Grocery Store, stocking shelves, bagging groceries and learning sound business practices. He also worked for his brother, Ernest, as a short-order cook at the family business, Ernie’s Drive-In, in Farmingdale. This was the beginning of Thulen’s successful, lifelong career in the restaurant business.

In 1949, he leased land on Bath Road and established an Ernie’s Drive-In of his own in Brunswick, the first in the town, and operated it until 1958. He then purchased a nearby lot and built a new Ernie’s Drive-In, which is the site of Cameron’s Lobster House today.

Ernie’s Drive-In was a fixture in Brunswick until Thulen’s retirement in 1989. The  restaurant, which offered the car-hop service that was so popular in the ’50s and ’60s, served large portions of clams and onion rings. The drive-in’s coleslaw was a favorite of many locals and travelers.

Thulen loved his family, hard work and cooking good food for a fair price. He also loved to talk, and anything could become a topic of conversation. He was always a Red Sox fan, win or lose, and was thrilled to see the team win the World Series. He enjoyed his annual trips to Florida each year, and retired there with his wife.

He was a member of Berean Baptist Church for many years, and also served as an usher and trustee of the church.

He was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Charlotte E. Thulen, of 55 years; his brother, Ernest Thulen; and sister Azelea Cole.

Survivors include a son, Gregory and wife, Elaine, of Topsham; granddaughters Kathy E. Galovitch, and husband, Deni, of Topsham, and Suzanne T. Stanton, and husband, Peter, of Bowdoinham; three great-grandsons, Caleb Galgovitch, Cody Galgovitch and Cameron Stanton; two sisters, Kathrine Hogerty, of Hallowell, and Peggy, and husband, Richard Goodwin, of Augusta; and many nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours were held Nov. 25 at Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal St., Brunswick. A funeral was held Nov. 26, followed by burial and a graveside family service at Gracelawn Cemetery in Auburn.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to CHANS Home Health & Hospice Care, 60 Baribeau Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011.

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