Alger Frances Burgess

Alger Frances Burgess, 85, died at his daughter's home on Chebeague Island Wednesday, July 28, 2004.
He was born on November 15, 1918 the son of Thomas A. and Ada E. Burgess. He spent his boyhood days on Peaks Island lobstering and clamming to help support his family. Alger attended the Peaks Island and Portland Schools.

In 1938 he served on the buoy tender "Hibiscus" which assisted in the rescue of the Submarine the U.S.S. "Squalus" which sank off the Isles of Shoals. During his service with the Coast Guard he served as seaman on the U.S.S. Cutter "Chelan", the U.S.S. Cutter "Algonquin" and the U.S.S. "Guthire". He received a Gold Life Saving Medal and Good Conduct Medal for his service in the North Atlantic during WW2. Alger was honorably discharged in June of 1944 with the rank of Boatswain's Mate, First Class.

Alger resided on Chebeague Island and pursued a commercial fishing career as captain of the "Ernie B" and "Ernie B ll" until his retirement in 1970. He was an active member of Maine Lobsterman's Association, the Chebeague Methodist Church and served as a boy scout leader for many years.

As a Shriner with the Amara Temple in Okeechobee, Florida, Alger volunteered his time as a driver for the Shriner's Hospital Tampa Unit. He was recognized by the Temple for 10,000 miles of driving service and received a medal of commendation for saving a child's life while on route to the hospital.

His memberships include: The Corner Stone Lodge of Portland, the Kora Temple of Lewiston, Amara Shriners of Palm Beach, Portland Maine Cutterman's Association, The Peaks Island American Legion,, Coast Guard Combat Veteran's Association, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He is survived by his first wife Shirley M. (Ross) Burgess; their children; Ernest E. Burgess, David T. Burgess, Sharon E. Bowman all of Chebeague Island; four grandchildren; Ethan Burgess, Erin Burgess, Caitlin Bowman and Mark Bowman; a sister, Wealthy Spofford of Naples; nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his second wife Marion (Huntley) Burgess in 1998.

From his early childhood, through duty as seaman in the Coast Guard to his life as a fisherman he was most at home on the sea. In January of 1960 a writer from the "The Fish Boat" accompanied Alger and his brother Herman Burgess on a winter fish trip. The most fitting tribute to be written may be in these lines which capture the man as he would wish to be remembered.

"The hauling never once stopped, hand over hand, hour after hour, hauling and snapping the fish clear. A nasty sea built up towering its ugly crests above the boat. The cockpit was knee deep in fish, the boxes full. Cod mingled with cusk, haddock and dogfish with hake. There was no footing save at the gurdy. The huge combers hissed directly in on the vessel's port beam, time and time again she disappeared in a smother of foaming spray as the seas broke against her side with the sound like the crack of a cannon. Finally the end buoy came aboard and in a dusk that rapidly became black night a NNW course was taken for the Portland Lightvesssel".

A memorial service will be held at the Chebeague Methodist Church on August 15 at 1:00 P.M. The committal service, to be announced, will be held at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
The Chebeague Island Commons
137 Littlefield Rd.
Chebeague Island, Maine 04017.