Penboscot Bay Press Compass Logo

Penobscot Bay Press
Community Information Services


Benjamin E. MacDonald

ISLE AU HAUT—Benjamin E. MacDonald, 57, died unexpectedly, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at his home.

Born in Castine, he was the son of Jane MacDonald and Charles Knowlton. Educated locally, he attended high school on Vinalhaven, graduating in 1976.

Ben considered Isle au Haut home, and he loved it there. He returned to the island following high school and was active in the community there. For many years he served as town treasurer and tax collector. His professional career was spent as a caretaker for several summer residents.

Ben was active with the Maine SeaCoast Mission, he was proud to have accompanied them to Belize where he assisted with the building of a school. He also spent several years as a lobsterman.

Ben was easy going, and made friends wherever he went. He was loved by everyone he came in contact with. He will be sadly missed.

Predeceased by his brother Robert “Bobby” Hall; Benjamin is survived by his mother, Jane Holbrook and his stepfather Kenneth Holbrook of Searsmont and Vinalhaven; his sisters, Barbara Hamilton of Vinalhaven, Barbette LeClair of Orrington, Susan Hall of Waldoboro, Theresa Hall of Union; an uncle Russell MacDonald of Connecticut; his second cousins, Dorothea “Dottie” Dodge of Isle au Haut, Colie Varick and her family of Stonington; Danny MacDonald of Isle au Haut; his cousins, Harold MacDonald and Melanie Smedberg, both of Connecticut; and a special friend, Matthew Skolnikoff of Isle au Haut.

Ben’s family has chosen to remember his life privately.

To share a memory or condolence with Ben’s family, please visit his Book of Memories at

Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.

Amy Cousins Hutchinson

Portland—Amy Cousins Hutchinson, 95, of Portland died on Saturday, November 14, 2015, in Portland.

Amy Cousins Hutchinson came into this world during a raging snowstorm on Isle au Haut, Maine, the only child of Fred and Florence Bridges Cousins, where she lived until she moved to Stonington to attend High School. In later years, she noted, with interest, how many snowstorms seem to occur on her birthday; so close to the first day of spring. Each year, of course, spring did come marked by the arrival of the daffodils and narcissus. Amy did so look forward to these indications of hope and renewal after a long winter.

Amy’s parents predeceased her as did Uncles Woodrow and Percy Cousins, Aunts Mineola Rich, Virgie Cousins, Clara Cousins and Isabel MacDonald and great-grandchildren Sean and Brian Paige and great-great-grandchild Blastow Snow. Also going on before Amy were dear cousins Ruth Rich, Claris Cousins Chance and very special friends Evangeline Knowlton, Katherine Grindle and Thelma Hopkins. Living on are children Terry and wife Catherine Weed Hutchinson of Voluntown, Conn.; Deena and husband Ronald Lee of Acworth, Ga., and Craig Hutchinson of Windham, Maine. Also, grandchildren Jon Hutchinson, Cheri Lynn Coon, Kimberly Lee and Ryan Lee; great-grandchildren Megan and Lee Paige, Roxie, Trevor, Jason and Jeffrey Hutchinson, Elijah and Sarah Coon and great-great-grandchildren Ella Snow, Braylen Perkins and Tanner Snow Jr.

Amy graduated from Stonington High School in 1938 and married Robert Hutchinson the very next day. She was employed by the United States Postal Service, retiring in 1972. Amy worked for the next 20 years at, first, the Bay View Restaurant and, then, the Fisherman’s Friend Restaurant where she so enjoyed the fried clams prepared by Chef Henry Bray. In 1988, Amy became a graduate of Eastern Maine Community College with credentials in the hospitality industry.

In 1992, Amy moved from Deer Isle to Eddington, Maine, where she enjoyed time with many dear friends and held membership in the Grange and the Congregational Church. The “Ladies of Eddington” enjoyed, among other things, taking long Sunday rides where they sampled a good deal of what the fine cooks of Maine had to offer. In 2002, Amy moved to the Woods at Canco in Portland, Maine, and then resided at 75 State Street in Portland. Most recently Amy has been a resident of the Seaside Long Term Care facility in Portland and being cared for by Life Choice Hospice. Making many new friends as her adventures unfolded, she enjoyed the latter part of her life and appreciated the excellent care a great deal.

Amy adamantly wanted no funeral to be held and cringed at the thought of her family and friends having to endure such an ordeal. She hopes that all who knew her will celebrate her life in a manner that is meaningful to them. Interment within Greenwood Cemetery in Oceanville, Maine, will occur at a later time. Arrangements by the A.T. Hutchins Funeral and Cremation Services, Portland, Maine.

For online condolences, please visit our website at

Win Griffith

Win Griffith, writer, father, appreciator, died before dawn on November 4, 2015, on Deer Isle, Maine, his son beside him. He was 84. Of all the words, gratitude was his favorite. Here is why:

Dear people: Parents Evan and Florence of California. Siblings John, Jean and Tony. Son Kevin and his family–Natalie, Liam, Amelia, Charlotte. Daughter Christina and her family–Peter, Liam. His former wife with whom he shared an uncategorizable love, Patricia. Nephews and nieces Mark, Anne, Sarah, James, Peter, Robert, Adam. Later seasons’ Loves. Those who bagged his groceries, changed his oil, brought his mail. Caregivers. All within the penciled pages of his treasured blue, taped-together address book including kind sisters-in-law and cousins and childhood, Stanford, Carmel Valley and Vermont friends.

Cherished places: The Golden Gate Bridge. Nepenthe, Big Sur. Monhegan Island. Mt. Ascutney. Penobscot Bay. Montana. Oregon. Einstein Statue, D.C. Portofino, Italy. An oak called The Thinking Tree. Libraries. Protest lines. Newsrooms. His writing desk. Coffee shops. Cross-country drives, windows down, road unfolding.

Words: Steinbeck. Thoreau. Pink Floyd. The Declaration of Independence. Neruda. Pete Seeger singing Guantanamera. The Dictionary. Wendell Berry. Ecclesiastes 3:4. The Shaker Spiritual, “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free.” Letters. This sweetly spoken truth: “I love you, granddad.” Any effort, by any person, to put life to words. His own block letter on yellow legal pad printed or Underwood then computer typed words: Hubert Humphrey, A Candid Biography, New York Times Magazine articles, Rutland Valley News columns, speeches, haiku, books in progress.

Resilient faith: Weston Priory. St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. Quaker Meetings. D.C. Baptist church choirs. Woods’ fallen log pews. Eucalyptus cathedrals. The sermons of shorelines.

And too: Welsh roots. Early mornings. Conviction. Daffodils. Aaron Copland. Making pesto. Cesar Chavez. Helen Caldicott. Serene Christmas scenes. Guinness. His rescue Bassett, Hopeful. The Treasure of The Sierra Madre. Political campaigns. Hysterical mishaps. Found rocks, sticks, shells. Compassion amid private struggles, painful choices. Belonging. Cheerful greetings. Gentle snowfall. Pie.

We know he appreciates how we remember him here. We know, too, that he is the one who steps from these words toward the company of those with whom he shares this page. He is introducing himself, asking their names. He is wanting to hear their stories. Genuinely, he is glad to meet them. This makes us smile, brings tears. This is why we will miss him.

But here’s what he would say: Feel. It’s okay. Now put your boots on and walk your sadness out under this day’s sky. See the newly open spaces between the leafless branches. Listen for the owl. Take your time along this trail. Smell the pines. Watch the squirrel gather what he needs. Let the sun warm your face. Greet the one who passes. Breathe deeply. Continue on along.

We will honor his request to scatter his ashes in a peaceful, loved Vermont spot. And in one of our final conversations, he hoped aloud that we would all “keep trying to better some little corner of the world.” In this spirit, donations may be sent to Island Nursing Home (587 N. Deer Isle Rd., Deer Isle ME 04627–“Win Garden Gift”) for the tending of the beautiful garden where he often sat, and in his final days, just the thought of which brought comfort.

Condolences may be expressed at

Albert Roth Gordon

Albert Roth Gordon, of Isle au Haut, Maine, died of cancer on September 20, 2015.

Albert was born in Columbia, Tenn., on the 4th of July, 1944, to Dave Gordon and Helen Rose Roth. Helen died when Albert was 4 months old, and Dave was remarried to Rose Allen in 1955.

Albert graduated from Andover class of ’62, Yale class of ’66, and Harvard Law School class of ’69. But during his law school years, he realized that he was not cut out for the comfortable upper-middle class life for which he had been prepared. He broke from his father’s purse strings and supported himself through the end of law school by going into business as a light show artist. He did psychedelic light shows at the Boston Tea Party and other venues around Boston and New England for the big rock, soul and blues acts of the era: Janis Joplin, Sam and Dave, B.B. King, the Byrds, the Velvet Underground, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Cream, the Grateful Dead and many more. His participation in the anti-war movement, his adoption of the emerging values of the hippie culture, and his profound experiences with psychedelic drugs impelled him to seize a radical freedom to determine the course of his own life, free of the expectations of his family and his past.

After graduating law school, Albert never looked back. He gave away all his possessions and took off hitchhiking with his backpack and his dog, moving around the country as the spirit and circumstances moved him. This nomadic existence lasted for about three years; for the first year he refused to touch money. He worked for a living, but would only accept payment in food or shelter. He also spent about a year without speaking, reflecting a distrust of words stemming from learning how to manipulate the truth in law school.

The hitchhiking odyssey wound down when Albert and some friends co-founded a hippie commune called Skyfields in northern Virginia. The commune broke apart in the mid seventies, and in 1975 Albert washed up as an itinerant hippie on Isle au Haut. He made many new friends on the island, playing music, doing carpentry, and fishing for lobsters. He built an addition onto the house of islanders Billy and Bernie Barter, and while working for them, he learned of a man with a lot of land and a dilapidated house. He proposed a swap of his labor renovating the house for a piece of wild land on the east side of the island. That land, where he built his own house, became his home for the rest of his life.

Albert earned his living building houses and boats on Isle au Haut. He had a lobster license and fished every summer, first out of a canoe and then from an outboard. He was the secretary of the Isle au Haut Lobstermen’s Association for many years. He helped to found the Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation and in the early ’90s designed and built the first three of their affordable year-round rental houses. As the chair the Isle au Haut Planning Board, he was passionate about conserving Long Pond, Isle au Haut’s pristine lake. A fine guitarist and singer, he played in local bands and enjoyed countless musical evenings with friends. His encyclopedic knowledge of old rock and roll always kept the music rolling. His sense of humor was legendary.

Albert loved his work and was unendingly generous with his time, his tools, and his friendship. His partner, Kathie Fiveash, an old friend since law school days, joined him on Isle au Haut in 1999 where she taught Music and Ecology at the Isle au Haut School for eight winters. For the last eight years of Albert’s life, they spent their winters in Northampton, Mass., and he became a beloved grandparent to two grandsons and a devoted member of a large extended family. As he said on November 2, 2014, to the doctor in the Emergency Room who informed him of his cancer diagnosis, “Well, I’ve had a good run, seventy good years.”

Albert is survived by his partner Kathie, his sister Gail Gilbert, his stepbrother Phillip Allen, his nieces Julie Cohen, Betsy Anderson, and Catherine Allen, his nephews Michael Gilbert, Michael Gordon, and Jamie Allen, and scores of others who loved him.

Muriel E. Derosier

Derosier, Muriel E. (Gray), 99, born February 22, 1916, passed away November 7, 2015, at her home in Penobscot. She was the third of five daughters born to John A. Gray and Annie Laurie (Pert) of Sedgwick. She was a loving mother to Laurie A. Warren, Penobscot, and Stephen C. Dolliver, Bronson, Fla. A Memorial Service will be held at Community of Christ church, 283 State St., Ellsworth, November 29, 2015, at 2 p.m.