Leonard G. Saulter ’51 died on October 6, 2016, in Waterville, Maine.
(The following was published in The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on October 9, 2016:)
Leonard “Len” Saulter, 90
WATERVILLE – Leonard G. Saulter, Sr. passed away peacefully on Oct. 6, 2016 surrounded by family after an extraordinary life spanning 90 years. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend, loved by all who knew him.
Born on May 22, 1926 in Waterville to Harry and Ellen (Howell) Saulter, Len was a man from humble beginnings who had a special way with people from a young age and a smile that could light up a room. A charismatic, student-athlete who loved to compete, he graduated from Waterville High School in 1944. He was an All Maine football player, All New England basketball player, won state championship titles in track and the javelin and served as class president and president of the student council. Len went on to serve his country in the US Army during WW II from 1944-1946. He then attended Bowdoin College where he studied Economics and Business, and was an All Maine football player. He graduated in 1951 and joined Hathaway Shirt Company as a salesman in their management training program.
In 1953, Len married his soulmate and hometown sweetheart, Shirlie Poulin. He was promoted to various roles across the company and lived in New York, Atlanta and Canada. At the age of 35, he returned to Waterville and was named President of Hathaway in 1961, where he served at the helm for 15 years. In 1976, he was named President of Eagle Shirts and in 1979 became President of Guilford of Maine, where he transformed the struggling textile company into the world’s largest supplier of panel fabric. He was named CEO of Guilford in 1983 and later served as Chairman of the Board before he retired.
Throughout his life and career, with Shirlie at his side, Len was passionate about “doing the right thing” and “making a difference” in his community. He served on multiple boards and supported many charitable organizations across the state. He was a lifetime champion for the Waterville Boys and Girls Club, serving in various roles over the years and as director from 1968-1972. He received the National Boys Club of America Award in 1972. His love of football led him to found the Waterville “Pop Warner” Pee Wee program in 1964. In 1970, he was named Man of the Year by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and received an Honorary Degree from Thomas College in 1987. In 1991, Len was honored with the Distinguished American Award by the State of Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
Len was an avid skier, tennis player, golfer and swimmer. A Sugarloafer since the 60s, one of his fondest memories was sitting fireside in the old red chair at the A-frame looking up at the trails, recounting the runs the family had taken that day. Len also loved the sunsets over East Pond which brought him great joy. A red sunset always elicited, “Hon come look at the sunset, it’s going down hot. It’s going to be another nice day tomorrow”.
Len is survived by his wife, Shirlie P. Saulter, who he lovingly refers to as “Hon”. He credits his success to her unwavering support of 63 years. He is survived by his children, son Dr. Leonard G. Saulter and wife Pam of Freeport, daughter Sherril L. Saulter of Waterville, daughter Jody E. McKenna and husband David of Bangor, son Dr. Timothy E. Saulter and wife Lisa of Falmouth, son Dr. Jamie T. Saulter and wife Linda of Waterville and son Dr. Michael S. Saulter and wife Brenda of Hermon. Len is also survived by the “Terrific 13” grandchildren who gave him tremendous joy, David McKenna, Matthew Saulter, Kailey McKenna, Hope Saulter, Brittany Saulter, Kaitlin Saulter, Jayme Saulter, Emilie Saulter, Brianna Saulter, Samantha Saulter, Brooke Saulter, Michaela Saulter and TJ (Timothy Jr.) Saulter.
Len always said his good-byes to his family with the same phase, “When are we going to see you again? Come back soon.”
Len, Dad, Papa, you were a loving husband, great father, wonderful grandfather…we will miss you.