1936 – 2014
STRONG — Thomas Alexander Piekart, 77, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 11, surrounded by his family at his home on the shore of Porter Lake in Strong.
Born Nov. 13, 1936, in Bronx, N.Y., he was one of two children born to Marinus C. Piekart and Rita Kane Piekart. He graduated from Sayville High School in New York in 1954, and joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. In his four years of service, he achieved the rank of petty officer, second class.
Thomas returned to Sayville and married Mary Engelbach on June 27, 1959. The couple lived in Holbrook, N.Y., until the mid-1970s and had two children, Thomas II and Timothy. He worked as an aircraft instrumentation technician for Colesman Instrument and then for Brookhaven National Laboratory as an operator of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, one of the world’s premiere particle accelerators. His work was even featured in National Geographic. He also owned his own trucking business for a time and the family could often be relied on to work on a large vegetable farm owned by Mary’s family on Long Island.
Thomas and his family moved to Phillips in 1976. Thomas’ family owned a summer home in Chesterville during his youth and his parents moved to Avon in 1972. He was a skilled, hardworking man who mastered several useful trades. He was a finish carpenter and master electrician, and built his homes in Holbrook, N.Y., and on Porter Lake and extensively renovated the family’s farmhouse in Avon. He also worked as a stationary engineer for Forster’s Mill in Strong during the 1980s.
It was in Maine that Thomas’ love of the outdoors could really take root. He was an avid hunter and gun collector, and he participated in cowboy action shoots, enjoyed his gardens and took on the role of sawyer with “Piekart Lumbah” in his retirement. He was a founding member of both the Sandy River Riders ATV Club and North Franklin Sportsmen’s Club.
Thomas also belonged to the Maine Antique Tractor Club, Narrow Gauge Snowmobile Club, American Legion Post No. 78 in Strong, Aurora Grange in Strong and Excelsior Pomona Grange in Chesterville, and was a longtime member and ardent supporter of the National Rifle Association. He served as a Eucharistic minister for St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and was a well-known face as a Maple Avenue gatekeeper at the Farmington Fair for 13 years.
Thomas loved to talk. He had a wide variety of interests. He also lived through many experiences during his 77 years, making him an entertaining storyteller for every occasion.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Mary; their sons, Thomas Piekart II of Strong and Timothy Piekart and his partner, Christopher Gale, of Westbrook and their daughters, Jean Marie and Johanna.
Thomas was predeceased by his sister, Johanna.
Memories, photos and a memorial video can be shared on his memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.