Wilbert H. (Bill) Munroe, 75

Bill Munroe, of Chebeague Island , Maine died Monday December 24 2007 at Maine Medical Center after a 3 _ year battle with cancer surrounded by his family. He was the son of William and Eloise Hamilton Munroe. He lived his whole life on the Island, and on the ocean. In the Navy he was stationed on the carrier Midway, and then entered the U.S. Coast Guard where after 22 years he retired as a Master Chief. He spent a good part of his life as a commercial fisherman, by himself as well as with his life long friend Danny Todd. Bill was also a captain for CTC.

He was a past member of the Chebeague Fire and Rescue Departments. Bill was currently a member of the E7-8-9 Club, the U.S.C.G. Chiefs Club, American Legion Post #91 and Chebeague Historical Society. He was a graduate of the Chebeague High School. Most recently he had more time to spend lobstering, clamming and what he liked most of all was time with his two grand daughters.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marjorie Munroe of Chebeague; son Ralph Munroe and wife Kim of Chebeague; daughter Carol Allen and husband John of Gorham; granddaughters Lida and Megan Munroe of Chebeague; also many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Frederick.

There will be a celebration of his life on Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 2:00 pm, at Lindquist Funeral Home, One Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth. Visiting hours will be Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:00pm. There will be a grave side service in the spring on Chebeague.

Featured Article in the Portland press Herald:

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND - For Wilbert H. "Bill" Munroe, there was no place colder on Earth than Chebeague Island, but there was no place he'd rather be than nestled in that comfortable community of relatives and friends.

Mr. Munroe died on Monday, the day after his daughter, Carol, was married in the Maine Medical Center chapel as he watched from his hospital bed. He was 75.

Mr. Munroe was a lifelong islander, wedded to the sea and the familiar rocks and mud and faces of home. He traveled the world during four years in the Navy and 22 in the Coast Guard, and that was enough. He had little desire to travel after that, except for the weekly dinner excursions that he and his wife, Marjorie, would make to the mainland.

"I think he loved the people on the island, the friends he had, the fishermen, the way the island is and what it stood for. It's a close community," his wife said. "I didn't tell anybody he had died, but by the next morning, everybody knew it."

Mr. Munroe was quiet and stoic, but he made no secret of his dislike for the cold. His son, Ralph Munroe of Chebeague Island, tried to get him to travel to Florida, but he said he had already been there and didn't need to go back.

Mr. Munroe traced his aversion to frigid temperatures to his childhood.

"When he was a kid, he probably had to walk a mile or two to school," Mrs. Munroe said. That included trudging past the open area in front of the island's golf course, where the wind whips in off the ocean. "He said that was the coldest place he ever saw in his life. For the rest of his life, he was always freezing, always cold."

Mr. Munroe did try life on the mainland once, driving a bus and a taxi, but he walked away after a year.

His life on Chebeague was built around fishing, as well as tending his own lobster traps and digging clams.

Mrs. Munroe recalled how, years ago, her husband's lobster boat broke down and was blowing toward the rocks of Crow Island. Mr. Munroe jumped overboard, ripped down a flagpole from a summer house and used it to keep his boat off the rocks until help arrived. "They weren't happy about it," she said of the flagpole's owners.

"All the fishermen take chances," she said. "Once, he was hauling and got his foot in the rope and his new boot went overboard. He never saw it again. He said, 'That's enough for today' and went home."

Mr. Munroe's cancer was diagnosed 3 years ago, starting in the colon and spreading to his liver, but he didn't complain.

"He never let this illness bother him," his wife said. "He went lobstering with it. He painted our house. He just went on."