SOUTH PARIS — Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall, 98, of Rumford, died Saturday, Dec. 30, at the Maine Veterans Home, South Paris. He resided on Blanchard Street in Rumford.
Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall was born Dec. 3, 1919, in Mexico. He was the son of Ethel and Arthur Broomhall. Chummy was one of 15 siblings, although several of his siblings died at birth or of childhood diseases. Family was everything to him and he showed that in his actions throughout life.
Chummy was an avid XC skier after learning the sport from a worker on his father’s farm. He won many high school and national races with his brother, Charles “Slim” Broomhall, as a competitor in those events. Both Chummy and Charles trained in Europe in 1940 for the Olympics, but the Olympics were canceled due to World War II.
Chummy did many odd jobs as a young man to help his large family, but he eventually became a Hood milkman, delivering milk to the Wilton area before and after WWII. When the company would not give him a leave of absence to work on the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif., he started a logging business with his brother, Cy, and ran the logging business himself until he retired over 35 years ago.
During WWII, Chummy served in the 10th Mountain Division, 87th Regiment, Company A, 1st Battalion-Detachment 2662, which trained the British and Italian troops in mountain warfare. Although he spent time in the Aleutian Islands and Africa, most of his combat time was in Italy. Chummy was very proud of his military service and often wondered how he made it home safely. Chummy epitomized the traits of what is called “The Greatest Generation.”
The greatest gift the 10th Mountain Division gave him was the chance to meet the love of his life, a beautiful Finnish farm girl, Lempi Torkko Broomhall. While he was training in the Upper Peninsula, Mich., in 1943, the weather turned brutally cold so he was sent to a camp outside Wausau, Wis., where Lempi was a college student. A month after Chummy returned from the war in October 1945, he went to Lempi’s home town of Ashland, Wis., where they were married on Nov. 17, 1945. Their chance meeting and two years of letter writing led to a wonderful 60-year marriage, three children, six grandchildren and an amazing partnership before she passed away on May 8, 2006.
Chummy has been a prominent member of the Chisholm Ski Club since 1936. Last winter, as the club’s longest living member, he was at the lodge signing books (“A Century on Skis”) about the club’s history. Chisholm Ski Club consists of volunteers who ran the early Winter Carnivals in Rumford, supported and built cross country trails, Alpine trails, ski jumps and installed lifts in the Rumford area — first at Scotty’s Mountain and later at Black Mountain. Chummy rallied his volunteers and made sure they were fed by volunteers in Muriel’s Kitchen at the mountain. With a twinkle in his eye and his dimpled smile, he will be remembered for telling his volunteers, “Your check is in the mail!” Chummy was influential in spearheading the development of Black Mountain Ski Area in Rumford where many local and national cross-country races have been held. Everyone who has raced in Rumford remembers High School Hill and the sea of “red coat” volunteers!
Chummy competed on two Olympic teams (1948 and 1952) as a special cross-country racer. He continued his Olympic involvement after leaving competition. He served as technical adviser and chief of race for the Nordic events at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley with his close friend, Al Merrill, from Andover serving as chief of course. Al and Chummy switched jobs for the 1980 Olympics, where Al was chief of race and Chummy was chief of course for the Nordic events. During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Chummy served as an honorary volunteer at age 82. He was the No. 1 fan of his granddaughter Reagan Carey’s Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team, and was watching from afar when her team won a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Chummy has been given many awards and accolades for his contributions to the sport of cross-country skiing and to his community. He saw the need to develop skiers at a young age and provided many youngsters in this community with the equipment and coaching they needed to become competitive skiers. He is a member of the National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, the Maine Ski Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Over the past 70-plus years, Chummy has tirelessly dedicated himself to the development and advancement of cross-country skiing not only in Rumford, but also in the United States and Europe. Cross-country skiing was his passion and was part of the reason he had such a long and wonderful life. Chummy frequently would say, “Cross-country skiing has given me so much, I felt the need to give back.” Chummy has lived his life with integrity, hard work, humility, a strong sense of purpose and a dedication to cross-country skiing and to his extensive Broomhall-Torkko family.
Chummy was predeceased by his loving wife, Lempi; brothers, Victor, William (Cy), Charles (Slim) and Robert (Bob); sisters, Margaret (Peggy) Robbins, Ruth Scammon and Irene Gordon. He is survived by his children, Wendy (Dennis) Carey of Atlanta, Ga., Vicki Broomhall Amoroso and her partner, Bruce Maybury, of Rumford, Scott (JoAnn) Broomhall of Rumford; grandchildren, Ryan Carey of Washington, D.C., Reagan Carey of Colorado Springs, Col., Heidi Broomhall of Rumford, Andrew Broomhall of Portland, Shane Amoroso and wife, Amy, of Peru, and Rory Amoroso of Rumford; step-great-granddaughter, Bryce Parent; step-great-great-granddaughter, Payton Tyler; his brothers, Erlon (Bucky) and wife, Frances, of Shaftsbury, Vt., Raymond (Judy) of Mexico, Philip (Butch) and companion, Teresa, of Rumford; and a sister, Ethelyne Wight of Wesley Chapel, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the Maine Veterans Home for the wonderful care and attention they gave Chummy since he moved there in May of 2016. A very special thank you to the staff who cared for him on a daily basis, especially his night nurse Bonnie, his “little girl,” Chloe, and his buddy, Eric. Also, a special thanks to Pat Parr, MVH activities director, who always took the time to include him in activities and went out of her way to make sure he could see Reagan’s hockey games on television when possible.
Friends and relatives are invited to sign the online guestbook and share memories with the family at www.meaderandson.com.
Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall
Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall