AUBURN — Maurice L. Penley passed away Thursday, Nov. 8, in Auburn, two weeks after his 88th birthday. He will be remembered for his hard work ethic, devotion to his wife and family and love of the outdoors.
He was an avid sportsman — he loved cross-country skiing, deer hunting, snowmobiling, hiking and following professional sports, especially the Red Sox and Patriots. In high school, he played basketball and baseball for Edward Little and in the Goff Hill Cyclones, a recreational basketball league.
Maurice was born Oct. 26, 1924, in Auburn.
He graduated from Edward Little High School in 1942, enlisted in the Navy the following winter and served in the Pacific theatre of WWII.
He flew on a B-24 Liberator as an aviation flight engineer from 1942 to 1946.
He went to flight school in Pensacola, Fla., was sent to San Diego and then served on the island Tinian in the South Pacific. He was flying over Iwo Jima, patrolling for Japanese submarines, the day they raised the flag on Mount Suribachi.
His squadron credited him for saving the plane and crew on a night run off of Tinian in 1944. The plane had hit a piece of equipment as it was taking off, and Maurice jettisoned fuel canisters and ammunition to keep the plane in the air.
He was later recognized for his quick thinking and heroic actions by his squadron.
After serving in the Navy, he returned to Tuner to work on the family farm. His future wife, Lorraine caught Maurice's eye as she would walk by the farm to catch the school bus.
Maurice and Lorraine Penley were married Sept. 9, 1950, and shared a life together for 61 years. Lorraine passed away in December 2011.
The Penley family lived on West Dartmouth Street in Auburn, and Maurice worked for the Post Office as a mail carrier — delivering mail to the people of Auburn.
In 1978, Maurice and Lorraine moved to a home on Bear Pond in Turner. In retirement, the couple spent happy days on the beach at Bear Pond and taking getaway trips to Caribbean Islands.
They also traveled extensively through the state of Maine, staying at bed-and-breakfasts.
When their children were young, they took many trips to a hunting camp in Upton on Umbagog Lake. The couple also enjoyed traveling to Maurice's Navy squadron reunions all over the United States.
Maurice is survived by his sister, Joyce Gaskas of Winstead, Conn;. and his children, Maureen Poisson of Jay, Marcia Bray of Hebron, Conn., and Jay Penley of Hartford. He will be fondly remembered by his eight grandchildren, Ross Poisson of Canton, Brett Poisson of Jay, Bethany Bray of Hamilton, Mass., Abigail Haynes of Leominster, Mass., Benjamin Bray of Hebron, Conn., Zachary Bray of Alexandria, Va., Jayson Penley of Limington and Sara Nilges of Sabbattus; as well as eight great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife, Lorriane; sister, Elaine Ordway, mother, Annie Verrill, and father Aurthur Penley.
Online condolences and sharing of memories may be expressed at www.lynchbrothers.com.