Irving W. Stetson, 87: Funeral director devoted life to service

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BRUNSWICK — Irving “Stet” W. Stetson, 87, died May 6 at the Freeport Nursing Home.

He was born in Portland on Jan. 30, 1925, the son of Irving W. Sr. and Mulvina Ragan Stetson.

In 1943 he graduated from Brunswick High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army. During WWII he served as grave registration chief where he built cemeteries in Normandy, France and the Batangas, Philippines.

He graduated from the Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, Pa. and attended Temple University.

On Sept. 18, 1948, he married Dorothy Grontkowski in Nanticoke, Pa. He was a fourth generation funeral director, working alongside his father for many years. He and his wife became the owner of Stetson’s Funeral Home in Brunswick in 1952. They sold the business in 1991 to Anthony and Debbie Purinton and maintained a keen interest in the business until the time of his death.

The was an ardent duck hunter, hunting with his father and friends at his camp on Muddy River in Bowdoinham. He was also a member of Ducks Unlimited.

Stetson was a member of the Rotary Club of Brunswick, where he was a five-time Paul Harris Fellow, and a past president and district governor of the Lions Club. He was past president of the United Way, on numerous boards and committees of the Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, past fundraising chairman of the American Red Cross, member and former chairman of the Brunswick Recreation Committee. He was a charter and life member of the Brunswick Elks Lodge, member of the Dirigo Grange, life member of the Topsham American Legion Post, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of the Maine Society of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America, member of the Society of Colonial Wars and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Stetson was also involved in the Order of the Golden Rule, life member of the Maine Funeral Directors Association, where he served as a past president; and as a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, where he served on national committees. He was a committee member for the new Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery-Mount Vernon Road, a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was previously qualified as a mortuary disaster coordinator for the National Funeral Directors Association.

He was a lifelong member of St. Charles Borromeo Church-All Saints Parish, serving on numerous committees over the years including the building committee.

Stetson is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of Brunswick; cousin, Virginia Laumer of Fisher, Ind.; several second cousins; and special “daughter,” Connie Cozzolino-Smith of Hartland, Wis.

Visiting hours were held on May 9 at Stetson’s Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick. Funeral services were celebrated on May 10 at St. Charles Borromeo Church-All Saints Parish, 132 McKeen St., Brunswick. Interment will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Brunswick.

Donations in his memory may be made to the IRIS Network, 189 Park Avenue, Portland, ME 04102 or to the Mid Coast Hospital, 123 Medical Center Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011.