Eric A. Lanpher


Eric Allen Lanpher, 76, died December 21, 2021, after a long battle with Parkinson’s, with his wife Terri at his bedside. He was born June 11, 1945, in Bar Harbor, the son of Charles and Juanita (Means) Lanpher.

Eric lived his life on his beloved Mount Desert Island. During his early years in high school, he discovered his first love, working on cars, which culminated in rebuilding his blue Model A Ford. Graduating from high school as valedictorian, he continued his schooling in a special program for mechanical engineering at Tufts University at night while learning to be a machinist at General Electric during the day. After his first semester he couldn’t wait to leave Massachusetts to return to his home state, where he pursued a degree at the University of Maine at Orono. He worked his way through college, first as a mechanic and then as an electrician where he earned his master electrician’s license. After graduating college, he taught mechanics in a special federal program at MDI High School and then took a job as planning officer at the Jackson Laboratory.

During that time, under the supervision of his mentor, Tom Hyde, he completed his training and passed the exam for professional engineer in mechanical engineering. During his tenure at the Jackson Laboratory, he developed a new passion and got his pilot’s license, including a full instrument rating and bought his first airplane. After a dozen years at Jackson Laboratory, he had developed a reputation for engineering excellence along with awards for one of the largest solar collectors built in Maine. He was an early advocate for alternative fuel designs and used his knowledge to build a hydronic wood and solar heating system for his house. He left Jackson Laboratory and was joined by his brother, an electrical engineer, to form Lanpher Associates, design and consulting engineers. He was joined later for a few years at Lanpher Associates by his eldest son who had also graduated as an engineer from the University of Maine at Orono. He purchased a larger airplane which allowed him to combine his love of flying with expanding the company, working in the Canadian Maritime Provinces to as far south as Pennsylvania. Eric was professionally licensed in three states and three provinces and was president of the company until his retirement in 2004.

Eric loved traveling to see the country and drove across the United States many times with his family towing a custom camper that he had built. He used the camper in retirement driving to Florida in 2005 to attend the Sun n Fun fly-in. Two additional trips that he spoke of fondly was one ferrying a small airplane from California over the Rockies back to Maine and later, flying his Piper Cherokee 4,000 miles to Alaska and back with his wife Terri to visit where she grew up.

Eric is survived by his wife, Terri Higgins Lanpher, brother Dwight Lanpher, children with his first wife Dawn Alexander: daughter Karie-An James and husband Sean, daughter Laurie-An Lanpher and husband Michael Godfrey, son Robbin Eric Lanpher and wife Aimee, son Patrick Eric Lanpher and wife Bethany. He is also survived by grandchildren Liam and Ryan James, Dreau Alexis Fischer, Benjamin and Shannon Lanpher, Violet and Maverick Lanpher. He has one great-granddaughter, Elena Quinn Fischer, due in March.

A small memorial service is planned for early summer with a scattering of his ashes at the cemetery on Beech Hill where his parents’ and sister’s headstones are located.

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