Widgery Thomas Jr. ’47

Widgery Thomas Jr. ’47 died on November 21, 2018, in Portland, Maine.

(The following appeared online at dignitymemorial.com in November 2018):

Widgery Thomas Jr., 94, of Scarborough, passed away surrounded by his loving family on November 22, 2018. Widgery was born at home at 31 Pine Street in Portland, Maine, on July 18, 1924, to Widgery Thomas, Sr. and Zella Bridge Thomas. He was predeceased by his wife, Joann (known as “Jonnie”), with whom he raised five children and enjoyed sixty years of love and friendship. Widgery attended Portland public schools and Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts, graduating in 1943. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a helmsman on a destroyer in the North Sea. At the end of the war he entered Bowdoin College and joined the Class of 1946. Widgery was the fourth generation of the Thomas family to attend Bowdoin College, and was the great-great-great-grandson of William Widgery Thomas, one of the original overseers of Bowdoin. While at Bowdoin, Widgery proudly carried on the family tradition of being a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and was a member of the swim team. Widgery met Jonnie while she was a student at Garland Junior College and they married in 1949. After graduating from Bowdoin, Widgery went to work in the sales department for the Portland Company. He eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and had a distinguished career with Canal National Bank, where he served as president and chairman of the board for many years. Many Portland business people gratefully recall Widgery’s willingness to work with them in building their businesses. Widgery later joined Corporate Finance, where he worked with his nephew, Seth Sprague, for many years, retiring in 2006.

Widgery was as at home on the sea as in the boardroom. As teenagers, Widgery and his good friend, John White, could be found pulling lobster traps and later sailing throughout Casco Bay. A lifelong sailor and member and past commodore of the Harraseeket Yacht Club, Widgery and Jonnie and their five children enjoyed summer cruises down the coast of Maine in their many boats, Calypso, Andiamo, Patience, Quikstep and Cockle. Always the fierce competitor, Widgery enjoyed success on the high seas in many races, including Monhegan, Halifax, Newport to Bermuda, and the Friendship Sloop races. Some of the family’s fondest memories were joining the Sprague family every winter weekend at their home in Kingfield, affectionately known as “Wee Farm.” Widgery and Jonnie taught their children to ski at Sugarloaf and shared many laughs and fun times with siblings and cousins.

Widgery and Jonnie traveled extensively and particularly enjoyed visiting England, Bermuda, Ireland, Germany, Alaska, and Hawaii, and their transatlantic trip on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

Widgery was active throughout his life serving others. He served on the board of trustees of Governor Dummer Academy and Westbrook College/University of New England, and was an enthusiastic supporter and alumnus of Bowdoin College. Widgery was very proud of attaining the designation of Eagle Scout and served on the board of the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts. Widgery also served as President of the YMCA board and chaired the committee to build the Portland YMCA swimming pool. He was an active member and trustee of his beloved Trinity Episcopal Church. In the early years, with Jonnie and five children in tow, Widgery could regularly be found at the Sunday morning service sitting in the first pew on the right side.

At the ripe old age of fifty, Widgery decided to take up running. Never one to do anything half-way, Widgery pursued his new sport with a vengeance, joining the Maine Track Club and eventually running the Maine Coast Marathon and the Marine Corp Marathon. Widgery ran his last Beach to Beacon race with his daughter, Gay, at the age of 80.

Widgery and Jonnie had ten grandchildren and enjoyed attending their many sporting events in high school and college. Widgery often traveled many miles to attend his grandchildren’s soccer and lacrosse games throughout New England and was an enthusiastic fan on the sidelines. He never missed an opportunity to watch his beloved Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins.

Widgery was a member of the Cumberland Club, Portland Country Club, and the “Know Nothing Club,” a group of old friends who gathered regularly for lunch at the Portland Country Club to discuss . . . nothing. At Widgery’s father’s memorial service at Bowdoin College, it was said that he was “a man of great energy and of infinite humor.” The same can be said of Widgery Jr. He will be remembered for his quick wit, generous nature, incredible memory, and recall of Thomas genealogy.

Widgery is predeceased by his wife, Jonnie; his sons, William Thomas and Charles Thomas; and his sister, Zella Dewey, and brother-in-law, Ned Dewey. He is survived by his sister, Mary Lou Sprague and brother-in-law, Phineas Sprague; his son, Peter, and daughter-in-law Roxanne and their two sons, Jonathan and Michael; his son, Jonathan (“Jack”), and daughter-in-law, Susan, and their children, Christopher, Alex and Libby; his daughter, Gay Sampson, and son-in-law, Nick, and their sons, Nicky, Tucker and Adam; his grandsons, Joshua and Nathan; his great-grandson, Teddy; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He will be sorely missed by his great friends, Victoria King and Mickey Higgins.

The family would like to extend their special thanks to all the caregivers and professionals who cared for Widgery at Piper Shores and Maine Medical Center.

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