1919 – 2014
AUGUSTA — James McKay, 94, of New Gloucester, a greatly loved father, grandfather and friend, died Friday, Dec. 19, at the Veterans Hospice Center in Augusta surrounded by his loving family.
He was born Dec. 23, 1919, in Bangor, son of the late Augustine and Beatrice McKay. James was a foster child and was raised in Auburn by the Bergeron family. He attended the Hardscrabble School in Auburn. James met the love of his life, Anita, at the age of 11.
He then went on to bravely serve his country during World War II as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army’s “Big Red One” Division with the military occupational specialty Motor Transport Eco 01, Qualification Medical Badge, on Sept. 12, 1945. He served in campaigns across multiple theaters, including the tank battles of Algeria French Morocco and the liberation of Sicily. Continuing on by the “luck of the Irish,” he survived the first wave of assaults on Normandy, France, and then the push through the Northern France Theatre to the Rhineland. He modestly accepted awards, including the Bronze Star and Silver Star. He never spoke of his experiences until his later years and always credited his Heavenly Father for surviving his time spent fighting the Nazis.
He returned home from his time in service and married Anita Bergeron, and together they raised a family while James worked as a plumber. Eventually, James took over the Bergeron family dairy farm in New Gloucester, where the door was always open to those in need. His wife treated and fed everyone who entered her house as family. They had many wonderful years together before Anita’s passing on Christmas, 2001.
James and Anita proudly devoted their lives to their eight children, two sons, Johnny McKay (deceased) and James R. McKay and wife, Sally, of New Gloucester; six daughters, MaryAnne O’marrow of Auburn, Margaret and husband, Melvin Heath, of Poland, Martha and husband, Terri Pulcifer, of Mapleton, Marlene and husband, Ron Whittier, of New Gloucester, Marjory Brown of Portsmouth, Va., and Marlissa and husband, Tracy Butler, of Chesapeake, Va. James and Anita’s constant devotion to their family rewarded them with 21 grandchildren, who in turn gave them 33 great-grandchildren.
James and Anita lived their lives by a simple principle, “Live by the love of God, always forgive and do good by others.”