Robert Estes
Robert Estes

Obituary of Robert F. Estes

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Robert F. Estes Jr., 72 of Oakland, passed away May 31, 2010. He was born June 11th 1937 in Boston, Mass. Bob and his family lived his early years in Louisiana and New Hampshire. In Hampton, New Hampshire is where Bob’s first exposure with unfairness towards others showed that he did not tolerate such behavior. When a student in his kindergarten who was top of the class was passed over for the honor of representing the school because of her religion, Bob got on the head master’s bad side by calling on him to do the right thing; and when the principle would not, Bob told him he could “Go to hell!” A five year old Bob was invited to leave school and a warrior was born. By this time there was a younger sister and his family moved to Rangeley where Bob attended schools until his dad was transferred to Great Northern Paper Company Woodlands Division and moved to Anson. Bob finished his high school education at Madison Memorial High School. Here again Bob’s forthright attitude and straightforward talk got him a week’s suspension from school when Bob refused to do his math problems as the teacher wanted as he had discovered a better and faster way. When he asked why he had to use the long way, the teacher cited him for talking back. When his father spoke to the principal and found the reason for his suspension, Bob got to go deer hunting for the week. During this time, his father, who was a surveyor for Great Northern Paper Company, located a wilderness spot and proceeded to build a wilderness cabin on Pierce Pond. Bob helped to build this cabin, and while working on the Pond, met the owner of Perry’s Pierce Pond Camps. The Camps brought in clients who wished to have a wilderness experience yet a guided fishing or hunting experience. The owner hired Bob as one of the guides. Bob worked there every summer until he met a client there who recommended Bob for West Point. Bob spent one year at Bates College before beginning West Point in 1956. There are rumors, but Bob won’t confirm or deny other than flash his famous smirk, that he marched more than any other member of his class for selling cigarettes and other acts of mischief. Upon graduation from West Point Academy in 1960, Bob went to helicopter flight school and discovered his passion and natural aptitude for flying helicopters. Bob married Anona Getchell in 1961. They had four children; Debora was born in 1962, Kimberly was born in 1967 during his second tour in Vietnam, and the twins, Derek and Dana were born in 1969 after his return from his second tour. Bob spent two extended tours of duty in Vietnam. His first tour was from 1964 to 1965 and his second from 1967 to 1969. He was a platoon leader of the Razorback armed helicopter squadron and was known as 'Papa Pig'. His skill as a pilot and heroism in battle earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation medal and thirty awards of the Air Medal. When not fighting in Vietnam, Bob was a helicopter flight instructor primarily stationed at Fort Wolters, Texas but he and his family were also stationed at Fort Bragg, Fort Sill for Artillery Training, Fort Rucker and at the military testing facility at Yuma Proving Ground . Bob was stationed back to Fort Wolters in 1972 and then upon the closing of Fort Wolters and the end of the Vietnam War was stationed at Fort Lee where Bob completed his military career with the rank of Major in 1974. Bob had always wanted to own his own business, so he bought a septic tank pumping company called Harrogate Septic Tank Service in Virginia. As happens with many military families, the strain of deployments and the separation from the military took its toll on his marriage and in 1977 Bob sold his business and headed to Alaska to start over again. In Alaska Bob first worked as a long term substitute teacher at a little village school called Ninilchik, and that spring, he worked as a supervisor of a fish cannery. His positive attitude toward Native Alaskans and his experience then landed him a job designing and assembling prefab homes for the Native village in Point Lay, Alaska on the Arctic ocean. When that job was finished, he applied for and got the job as city engineer technician for the City of Soldotna. During his time there he designed many of the roads and streets for that growing city. This lasted from 1982 thru the spring of 1984. When his father had a heart attack and had to have surgery, Bob flew back to Maine to care for his dad. It was while in Maine working and taking care of his parents that Bob met his “wife to be”, Jeanette Wentzel. They dated for several years and when Jeanette moved to Florida to be near her children, he went with her. They married in Tavares, Florida in 1993. Bob’s passion for the game of golf lead him to work for the Mission Inn Resort and Golf Course for a number of years until he started his own business of Estes Golf Cart Repair. He worked until his own heart attack in 2002 forced him to retire. During his time in Florida, Bob was always looking out for the people on his street. There was an older lady who Bob first did lawn chores for and then ended up taking care of her home, taking her to medical appointments and finances until her passing. Bob cared for his wife, Jeannette, who had developed breathing problems until she passed away in December, 2006. Bob now resides with his sister Elizabeth and her husband John Zimba in Oakland, Maine.
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Robert Estes

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Robert Estes

1937 - 2010

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