James Kendell (Ken) Longe, 86, of Walpole (South Bristol), passed away Monday evening, July 6, 2020 at his home surrounded by family, after a long illness.
Ken was born to James Kendell Longe, Sr., and Mabel Kean Longe on July 11, 1933 in Andover, Massachusetts. He attended Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts from 1948-52. Ken then served in the U.S. Army as a private in the engineering division from 1953 to 1956 and was stationed in Galena, Alaska.
One of Ken’s first jobs was working at Sylvania Corporation in Waldoboro, Maine while he awaited word of a job application with Massachusetts Bell. For a short period of time, he was employed at both jobs. It was at Sylvania where he met the love of his life, Jane Eugley. On June 7, 1958 Ken and Jane married, and resided on a small farm he had purchased beforehand on the Old Walpole Meeting House Road in Walpole, Maine. In 1957, he was employed by Nash Telephone of Damariscotta, Maine, and continued with the company for the remainder of his career. The company’s name changed several times over the thirty-three years he was there—retiring in 1990 from Contel Telephone Company. In earlier years, Ken served on the South Bristol planning board and South Bristol Fire Department.
One of his labors of love was working on his many boats—be it a motor boat or sailing vessel. He enjoyed plying Muscongus Bay and the Damariscotta River with his family in earlier years, and upon retirement took to the water once again with his wife, Jane. And while he enjoyed sailing, he much preferred working on his watercraft in his dooryard and workshop. At a young age, Ken took an interest in boats and maritime history. He built his first boat in his parents’ basement at age 12 from a Hagerty Sea Shell kit they had purchased for him. Through the years eight more new constructions of his own design were built. He enjoyed trying different construction methods including steam-bent planks, strip-built, and carvel planked, and new fasteners and adhesives. Several vessels in disrepair were also rebuilt and put back to use with his skills. In his younger years, he would go around and take pictures of new wooden boats being built at local boatyards for the National Fisherman Newspaper. During each grandchild’s 8th-grade year at South Bristol School, he would go to Maine Maritime Museum and volunteer in the boat building program. He loved sharing his knowledge and watching the students putting their skills to work.
He also enjoyed making furniture, boat half-models, clocks, cabinets, and carved miniature oxen teams with sleighs—to name but a few. He really enjoyed making something work that had been broken without purchasing a new part, whether it be unavailable or would take too long if ordered, and he would find a way to make the repair. Ken was also artistic and in past years enjoyed watercolors and pencil drawings. At the age of 80, he built a two-bay garage in its entirety for him and his wife.
He took great pride in his vegetable gardens every year and loved handing out surplus produce. Family breakfasts were particularly enjoyable to him as it brought everyone together. Always up to meeting new people, he enjoyed going to the local coffee shops with his good friends Bill, Paul, and Hank. With a wealth of knowledge between them, they could carry on a conversation with anyone. Ken forged many friendships while frequenting the local coffee shops, and he dearly loved his community. He had a pleasing disposition and always took an interest in what others had to say. And while Ken has passed from this life, he has left an indelible mark upon the lives of all those he touched.
Ken is survived, and sadly missed, by his wife of sixty-two years, Jane Eugley Longe; his two children, son James T. Longe and wife Laurene Alley Longe of Walpole, and daughter Wendy Longe Dinsmore and husband Timothy S. Dinsmore of Walpole; grandchildren, Sarah Longe Spinney and husband Allen Spinney of Bristol, Andrew Longe and wife Kaila Gagnon Longe of Walpole, Daniel Dinsmore and Julie Dinsmore—both of Walpole; great grandchildren, Brailee, Lauralie and Adaley Longe; and an expectant great-grandson this fall, Grayson Robert Spinney; as well as his pal, Mojo.
A private graveside service for family will be held at the Old Walpole Meeting House Cemetery in Walpole. In lieu of flowers, and for his love of animals, donations may be made to the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, PO Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.
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