Obituary of Jacob Eldridge Bethune Jr.
Jacob Eldridge Bethune, Jr. “Buddy” passed away peacefully at age 92, with family next to him at Sussman House in Rockport, ME on September 16, 2023, during tropical storm Lee. Born in Belfast, ME on July 13, 1931, Buddy grew up on the island of Islesboro, ME and graduated from Islesboro High School in 1948. Buddy moved with his parents to Chester, NH at age 18, where he met and married Jean Elaine (Wason) and they raised their children, Diane, Brian, Carol, Bonnie, and Glenn.
Buddy and Jean moved to Islesboro in 1993 and were immediately accepted by island residents as two of their own. They were married 63 years when Jean passed away in 2015. Buddy was a hardworking man who loved to be of service to others and had a quiet sense of humor. He was a loving and dedicated husband, a good and loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and a trusted friend to all who knew him.
Buddy loved clamming and fishing, helping with lobstering in Penobscot Bay, fishing on the gulf coast of Florida and hunting with friends. He was larger than life in the humblest of ways, had a vast knowledge of many things and a continual desire to learn more. He learned farm work early on, as his parents Jacob Sr. and Marion Bethune, were caretakers at the Bonnet Farm on Islesboro. He gained many skills throughout his life - working in a grain mill in Manchester, NH, and later as an accomplished carpenter and mason. He most enjoyed working in the woods and cutting trees and later became a sawyer at True & Noyes Lumber in East Derry, NH. Anything he built, from their home in Chester, to treehouses for the kids to birdhouses were called “Buddy-built” – done well and made to last.
Buddy volunteered at the Chester Fire Department for many years, never losing sight of the importance of that role and the service to the community it provided. He looked forward to the annual fire department breakfasts after he moved to Maine.
He was a longstanding member of the Second Baptist Church on Islesboro and the Congregational Church in Chester, NH serving as deacon at both. At the Second Baptist Church, he will be remembered for preparing the church for Sunday service – turning on lights, fans, and heat in winter, posting hymns to be sung, greeting parishioners, and handing out bulletins. Buddy would then light the candles and ring the church bell.
Buddy held many positions on the island including the Planning Board and Groundwater Protection Committee and performed the ritual of “dropping the rope” to kick off the annual rummage sale. If there was a project to be done, something to be fixed or built, Buddy would be present to help with the hands-on work, and in later years, advise.
Buddy leaves an enduring legacy. His family will sorely miss walks on the beach, eating mussels Buddy often picked himself, steaming lobsters from Earl Durkee’s boat and the stories such as the time he and a friend rode a sea turtle that came up on shore at the Bonnet Farm.
Jacob “Buddy”, son of Jacob and Marion (Delaney) Bethune, was predeceased by his wife Jean (Wason) Bethune, children Diane and Glenn, sister Juanita (Bethune) Randall, brothers Stanley and Kenneth Bethune, grandson Joseph Bethune and granddaughter Dawn Laberge Fraher. He is survived by son Brian Bethune and wife Lisa (Nerl) Bethune of Plymouth MA; daughter Carol (Bethune) Evans of Goffstown NH; daughter, Bonnie Bethune of Ashland, NH and his much-loved grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other loving family members.
Services to be held at the Second Baptist Church on Islesboro, ME on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at 1pm and at the Great Hill Cemetery in Chester, NH with date and time to be announced. Memorials can be made to the Second Baptist Church on Islesboro, ME. Memories and condolences may be shared on his tribute wall.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Jacob Bethune Jr., please visit our Tree Store