James A. Gillchrest, Jr., 88, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Born in Thomaston on Nov. 28, 1926, he was the son of James, Sr. and Eva Demuth Gillchrest. He began his education in Thomaston, and later graduated from Williston Academy in Northampton, Mass.
Following high school, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving during World War II. After being honorably discharged, he attended University of Maine at Orono, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1949. While at UMO, Jim was a member of the Phi Eta Kappa Fraternity.
Later while spending time on Cape Cod, Jim met Carolyn Goodall. The two were married in Cotuit, Mass., on Sept. 2, 1951. The pair lived for a brief time in New York before returning to Maine, living in Bar Mills for over 20 years. They settled back on the midcoast, residing in their Rockport home for the past 30 years.
Always active in his community, Jim was a member of the Hollis Lodge of Masons and Lions Club, Barber Shop Quartets in Portland and Camden, as well as the Rockland Rotary Club. Jim spent his career as an insurance agent. He worked for several agencies over the years, retiring from W.C. Ladd in Rockland.
Jim was an accomplished woodworker and had a great love of the outdoors. He and his family spent many summers camping and canoeing, especially in Baxter State Park and on Sebago Lake. In retirement he was proud to have traveled across 48 states with his wife in their camper. Music was a big part of Jim’s life and he greatly enjoyed playing his guitar and organ.
Jim will be most remembered for his kind heart and positive spirit. He always put others above himself, even making sure to ask nurses and other caregivers how their day was while he was in the hospital. He was a people person, and never met a person who didn’t quickly become a friend. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Mr. Gillchrest is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Carolyn Gillchrest of Rockport; his son, James ‘Jay’ Gillchrest of Portland; his daughters, Allison ‘Beth’ Holtman and her husband Stephen of Cheshire, Conn., Janet Horton and her husband Harry of Portsmouth, Va., Kate Cataline and her husband Curtis of Lenore City, Tenn., Sarah Cummings and her husband Edward of Woolwich; a daughter-in-law Charlene Gillchrest of Scarborough; his sisters, Jean Simmons and her husband Richard of Springfield, Mass., Sally Brooks and her husband the late Karl Brooks of Thomaston; nine grandchildren, Angela Gillchrest, James ‘Jamie’ Gillchrest, Victoria Gillchrest, James Holtman, Grayce Cummings, David Holtman, Cullen Cummings, Isabella Cataline, Gabriel Cataline; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.