ROSS, ARCHIE E., CAPT. - 77, of Chebeague Island
Captain Archie Ross died February 24.2002 at Coastal Manor in Yarmouth, following a long illness. Born March 8, 1924, son of Eli and Mary (Marie) Hatfield Ross.
Archie Ross would like to remembered for truly caring about each person. He always had a smile and kindness for everyone and even remembered those he had not seen for many years by name. He often remarked that his wish was for everyone to get along with each other. There was always a special place in Archie's heart for all children, as he took great pains to call each child by their name. Most recently remembered for the 50 years that Archie served Bustins Island as their boat captain, passenger, freight service, and best friend, he spent all of his years working on or near the water. He is remembered for running his boat and delivering the U.S. Mail in his bare feet. On July 20, 1996, the USPS honored him with a special cancellation. The U.S. Coast Guard also honored him in 1995 for his safety record.
Raised on Chebeague Island, Archie grew up helping to support the family by clamming with his father, Eli. His first job was aboard the ferry Nellie G. as deckhand. The Nellie G. ran from Handy Boat on Falmouth Foreside to Cousins, Littlejohn and Chebeague Islands in season. He worked there until the war broke out, when he ran boats for William Benson in the boat pool from Portland to the military installations in Casco Bay. He was often called upon to train navy personnel in seamanship and boat handling. After the war, Archie earned his Master's license, then a new requirement for passenger boat captains. Archie returned to work aboard the Nellie G. and ran the Nellie G III as well as the Victory, which he later bought from the Swett family. He began running the Bustins Island trips while working for the Swett family, and when offered the Bustins contract, Archie took the job, working summers for Bustins from 1946 until 1996. He won the mail route contract as well, carrying the mail to Bustins until 1997. His first boat, the Victory, was lost while trying to save another boat in a storm in 1949. By the following summer, enough money had been raised by the communities around the bay to finish paying for Archie's new boat, the Marie L. For winter income, he shipped out in the Merchant Marine; worked on the old Portland Pilot boat until 1963 and built wooden boats as half owner of Even Keel Boatyard in Yarmouth with Carroll Lowell until their last boat was built in 1989, the Calliope.
When he retired from Bustins Island in 1996, Archie returned home to Chebeague Island, where he and his wife, Claire have enjoyed these later years together.
He is survived by his sister, Lavinia Ross Burns of Naples. His wife, Claire Macdonald Ross, of Chebeague Island. Three children, Wayne Freeman Ross, of Austin Texas, Gale Marie Ross, of Yarmouth and Lisa Sharon Ross of North Yarmouth. Three grandchildren, James Stickney, Browen Ross and Kyler Ross as well as a great-grandson, River John Stickney and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Chebeague Care Resources, RR1, Box 226, Chebeague Island, Maine 04017 or to the National Center for Homeopathy, 801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 306, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.
Claire wishes to express her gratitude to everyone - with their support Archie was able to spend the last of his life on Chebeague and surrounded by his friends and family.