Melvin J. E. Preble


FREEPORT – Melvin J. E. Preble, 95, of Rumford Center, died Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Hawthorne House.

He was born in Bangor, on Feb. 10, 1911, the son of Jay and Katherine (McCaffrey) Preble. He graduated from Deering High School in Portland, Class of 1929. He was a member of the “D” Club, football team, and a noted star of the track team, excelling in low hurdles. He graduated from Arnold College in New Haven, Conn., Class of 1933, and was a running back on the Arnold football team.

He served as a U.S. Army captain during World War II from 1942 to 1946. He commanded physical reconditioning at the following Texas locations: Amarillo Air Base in Amarillo, Camp Barkley in Abilene and Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio.

He was a physical education teacher at Stephens High School in Rumford for more than 25 years. Prior to that, he held teaching positions in Wells and Norridgewock. At Rumford, he coached freshman football and baseball, and introduced and coached varsity wrestling, varsity gymnastics and girls’ tennis. In 1968, he was honored at the annual convention of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for Distinguished Leadership. The 1973 Rumford High School “Tribute” year book was jointly dedicated to him and his wife, Gerda. He retired in 1972.

He was married in Leominster, Mass., on June 25, 1943, to the late Gerda C. Johnson of Rumford Center, who died in Freeport on Nov. 8, 2006.

Survivors include a son, John Preble, and wife, Deborah, of Yarmouth; two daughters, Marsha Hanson, and husband, Peter, of Poway, Calif. and Jane Preble of Ellicott City, Md.; a sister, Mabel Frost Dyer of Gorham; a nephew, Thomas Frost; nieces, Florence Frost Ireland, Lisa Krock Staff and Lynne Krock; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.