Lt. Col. Edrick J. Thibodeau

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AUBURN – Retired Army Lt. Col. Edrick J. Thibodeau, 89, of Columbia Street, Lewiston passed away on Jan. 26.

He was born on Sept. 1, 1917, in Van Buren, the son of Edmond and Flavie Thibodeau.

In 1933, the family moved to Lewiston, where he resided ever since.

By the time of his graduation from Lewiston High School in 1936, he had completed four paramilitary summer courses, conducted at Fort McKinley in Portland.

Thereafter, he began a career in retailing, which was curtailed by the onset of World War II, and on Jan. 7, 1942, he enlisted in the Army and was chosen to attend Officers’ Candidate School, “OCS,” at Fort Benning, Ga.

Upon graduation in December of that year, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and volunteered for the 87th Mountain Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division, “Ski Troops,” who were then conducting Mountain Winter Warfare Training at Camp Hale in Colorado. He saw action with this unit in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operation during the Aleutian Island Campaign.

At the conclusion of this first tour of duty, he was selected to attend Military Intelligence (Combat) School at Fort Ritchie, Md., and following graduation received further training in London, England, where he successfully completed the Allied Intelligence Course.

He was given command of a team of Photo Intelligence Personnel attached to Headquarters 101st Airborne Division, G-2 Section, then stationed in England. A qualified senior paratrooper, he participated in the Allied Airborne Operation in Holland (Arnhem Campaign) and the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, Belgium.

He was awarded overseas assignment medals for both the Asiatic Pacific and the European Theaters of Operation, six campaign participation stars, and one Arrowhead (Initial Assault) insignia. He was honorably discharged from the service in November 1945.

After the war, he continued his military service through the Maine Army National Guard and commanded G Company, 103rd Infantry.

Transferring to the Active Army Reserve, he was assigned to be the training officer for the 417th Infantry Regiment. He later commanded the 1st Battalion, 417th Regiment, 76th Division in Auburn and subsequently became the executive officer for the newly-reorganized 76th Committee Group.

He retired from active military service in August 1970, but for several years he did staff training for the 76th Committee Group, XIII Army Corps and U.S. Army Reserves, as an employee of the U.S. Civil Service.

On Feb. 5, 1949, Edrick married Catherine MacPhee at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.

He was a communicant of Saint Patrick’s Church, where he served as an usher for some 15 years.

Along with two brothers, he operated Tibby’s Sports Center. He later worked for clothier A.H. Benoit’s, Valley Sports and Service Merchandise, as manager of the sporting goods department.

An accomplished sportsman, he enjoyed fly fishing, bow hunting and skiing, and volunteered for five years as a registered member of the National Ski Patrol System.

He also was a longstanding member of the Alden Post 31 American Legion, the 10th Mountain Division Association, the Reserve Officers Association, the Retired Officers Association and the Military Order of World Wars.

In 1997, with production assistance from his wife Kay, he produced and narrated the video “Troopers through Infinity,” created from movies he had taken while serving with the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne Divisions.

That video is now part of the Audio Visual Collection at the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center in Denver, Colo., and is included in the video archives of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum at XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.

He is survived by his bride of 58 years, Catherine Thibodeau; and their daughter, Elaine Thibodeau; a brother, Henry C. Thibodeau and his wife, Joan, of Lewiston; a sister, Mrs. William (Pauline) Harvey of Auburn; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Lorn (Alice) Thibodeau and Mrs. Roger (Irene) Thibodeau, both of Lewiston; godchildren, Robert Rioux, P. Michael Thibodeau, Kathy Goff, and Georgianna Stevens; several nieces and nephews; and special friends, Scott and Lee Morgan.

He was predeceased by six brothers, Romeo, Alfred, Ludger, Roger, Lorn, and Richard Thibodeau; and five sisters, Lottie Violette, Myrtle Thibodeau, Dorothy Rioux, Lucille Sampson, and Esther Thibodeau.

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