Photography

William Angus Kenney

February 16, 2021 ~ November 14, 2021

Obituary

William A. Kenney

1921 - 2021

Madison, Maine

 

William “Angus” Kenney finally, but stubbornly, relented to old age on November 14th, at his home in Madison. He was a long-time resident of the town, it’s former Postmaster and vegetable gardener extraordinaire.

Angus was born on February 21, 1921 in a wintery lumber camp atop Mount Abram near Kingfield., Maine. Delivered by midwife, he was the third of seven children of William and Helen (LeBlanc) Kenney. Having immigrated from Quebec and New Brunswick, they eventually settled in Madison and lived on a farm before moving into town where he attended local schools (Class of 1940).

At 20 years old, Angus enlisted in the newly-created Army Air Corps to serve his county in WW-II and pursue his passion for flying. He attended flight school in Oxnard, California and became a Flight Engineer and Turret Gunner on a B-24 Liberator as a member of the 8th Air Force, 461st Bombardment Group. On their way to the war in Europe, their plane overflew the cloud-shrouded refueling stop in the Azores and nearly ditched at sea, but for a last-minute sighting of a cargo ship heading into harbor. Stationed in Northern Italy, he flew in over 30 bombing missions and was awarded the Bronze Air Medal for Valor. He was awaiting orders to serve in the Pacific when the war ended. Attaining the rank of Corporal, he was Honorably Discharged on October 16, 1945 as one among the “Greatest Generation”.

Upon returning to civilian life in Madison, Angus soon started work for the U.S. Postal Service, first as a carrier, then a clerk, Assistant Postmaster and in 1971 appointed Postmaster - the first in Maine under the new non-political, merit system. He retired from the Post Office in 1980 and while under his tenure the town’s street addresses were unified and RFD routes consolidated both in Madison and elsewhere throughout the state.

In 1960 he bought a mid-19th century house and moved it to its current location on Pine Street where he spent the next 25 years repairing and remodeling it one brick, one nail and one board at a time. There he was an avid gardener and known throughout town for his tomatoes which he raised from seed for planting soon after Memorial Day. His fishing skills were similarly well-honed especially for trout and salmon throughout northern Maine, Alaska and Canada. His travels also included Russia shortly after the Cold War and to his ancestorial home of Kilkenny, Ireland.

Over the past 20 years he wintered in Florida staying beachside in Treasure Island, in a log cabin in Ocala National Forest, in downtown Tampa where he was often seen riding his bike, and finally in central St. Petersburg where his daily routine consisted of a morning walk in the park, coffee at Starbucks, letter writing and a mid-afternoon nap.

He met and married Theresa Desmond from Fairfield, Maine in 1948 and together they had four children: John, Mike and Mark Kenney and Kathy Libby. Also surviving are his brother Raymond Kenney and sisters Birdina Padham and Loraine Chandler, five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and many nephews and nieces. Deceased are his brother Lawrence and sisters Lorena Snell and Irene Damron. Though he out-lived most of his friends they included his fishing buddies, former postal workers, the parish priests, his many neighbors and wide assortment of other remarkable and interesting townspeople. He also leaves behind his extended family by his daughter-in-law, Patti, along with his other grateful friends back in Florida.

Most recently Angus was honored in the Maine State Legislature for his combined military and governmental service. And in February on another wintery, windswept day and within sight of his birthplace on Mount Abram, he was again honored on his 100th birthday by his family; the Town of Madison; the local VFW and Legion; and federal, state and local legislators.

Late in life Angus said that “growing old was not for sissies” but he still managed to enjoy it well into final years, always a well-informed and engaging conversationalist, exercising regularly and making preparations for the next growing season. Though his life was not altogether flawless, his passing reminds us that we are ourselves also fallible as no man is perfect, but that we can still achieve great things and leave an enduring legacy. He will be dearly missed and long-remembered by those who knew him.

A funeral and burial will be held in Madison to be announced in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, donations in Angus’ memory can be made to the Madison Public Library, 12 Old Point Ave., Madison, Maine, 04950.

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