Percy Lewis Harding died peacefully with family by his side after a brief battle with cancer and of a broken heart on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at MDI Hospital, Bar Harbor. He was born Dec. 22, 1934, the son of Edna (Hall) Harding and Vaughn L. Harding.
His wife, Erlene, and son, Leroy, died tragically April 22 of this year in a house fire.
Percy was a “master craftsman,” in the words of his son, Dale. Percy was skilled in many trades. He was a master electrician by vocation, but he knew plumbing and heating, masonry, carpentry and stonework. His father, Vaughn, made him promise to never be a mechanic; a lifelong promise he kept.
He was quoted as saying, “Work hard because hard work makes you feel alive,” and work hard he did; every day. You would often find Percy in the garden, mowing the lawn or in the woods.
Percy began work young delivering milk for Sargent Farm. He worked for L. E. Norwood, the Town of Bar Harbor Public Works and as a fireman. He worked at Mount Desert Island Hospital in the Maintenance Department, where he earned his master electrician license and was able to hone many of his skills. He left the hospital to work at the Jackson Laboratory, from where he retired around 1999. Everywhere Percy worked he gained many friends. He was a natural teacher and quietly shared his vast knowledge with others.
Of all his accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. With four active sons, the home was busy. Percy spent hours on the roads transporting his boys and their friends island-wide. Over the years the boys were involved in music, sports and drama; dances and proms; concerts and games.
After retiring from the Jackson Lab, he busied himself around the yard and helped Erlene with her daycare. The house was alive again with children. Although he was busy, he made time a few summers and grew pumpkins, scratching names into them early enough in the season so the scarring would be healed-over and each child had a pumpkin with his or her name on it in the fall.
In recent years, Percy devoted his time caring for Erlene and Leroy. After the fire, he was a lost soul. His grief was palpable. We are relieved his pain and suffering are over and he is reunited with his wife and son.
Percy is survived by sons: Percy Jr. (Lisa); Dale (Christine); and Raymond. Sister: Shirley (Heinz) Fabbri of Texas. Sisters and brothers-in-law: Joyce Burrill of Bangor, Donald (Donna) Spooner, Esther Weston and Stanley Bennett of Bucksport; Peter (Ellen) Spooner of Brewer; and Gail Spooner of Bar Harbor. Grandchildren: Nathan (Christy) of North Carolina, Alexander of Indiana; Meagan of Sullivan, Sean and Holly of Bar Harbor, Garrett of Southwest Harbor, and William of Massachusetts; Great-grandchildren: Reese and Zachary, Anneliese and Lilia, Keadynn and Vivian and William. He leaves behind nieces and nephews too numerous to name individually.
Percy was predeceased by his wife and a son, parents, stepmother: Dorothy (Young) Nelson, brother: Robert L. Harding and wife Rose, sisters: Lillian Wentworth and Betty Gooch; brothers-in-law: Eugene Weston, Erwin and Carroll Spooner and Richard Burrill; sister-in-law: Helen Bennett, and beloved grandson, Brian Harding.
The family wishes to express our sincere gratitude to Beacon Hospice and the wonderful nurses and staff at MDI Hospital for their love, care and devotion during Percy’s last days who allowed Percy to do things “My Way.” Special thanks to Roberta Kearney, who was with Percy in his final moments.
Funeral service will be Saturday, Nov. 3, at 10:30 a.m. at Somesville Union Meeting House, Somesville. Burial will be following the service reception at River View Cemetery, Bucksport. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choosing.