Elbert H. Lambert

1915 – 2010

“Home is the Sailor, home from the sea. Home is the hunter, home from the hill.” Stevenson

FARMINGTON — Elbert H. Lambert passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Sunday, Feb. 28.

He was born June 24, 1915, (Saints John Day) in Strong, the son of Merton Lambert and Lizzie Sabine Lambert. Elbert, (with an E). He spent his childhood at the family homestead at the foot of Lambert Hill. He, and his siblings Virgil, Violet, and James helped their mother with all the chores at the farm during the height of the depression, while their father was working in the woods in New Hampshire.

He graduated from Strong High School in 1933, and went to work on the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad. Many evenings after his shift was over, he would catch the Rangeley train from Strong and ride the railroad to Wings crossing in Avon, where the engineer would slow the train, so he could jump off and visit a certain redhead his sister had introduced him to. Montress Wing and Elbert were married Oct. 9, 1938, and soon after built their home on Main Street in Strong, where Mont would run her beauty shop.

After the railroad closed, he began employment at Forster’s mill and shortly became foreman of the flatware department. He was later invited to apprentice in the tin shop, and learned the trade from Vinal McLain. He enhanced his hands on experience by taking correspondence courses in geometrical layouts and became proficient in his craft.

In 1943, during World War II, he enlisted in the Seabees, and was assigned as an instructor on the rifle range at Camp Perry, Va. As a 3rd class petty officer, he transferred to the regular Navy, and was deployed to the Pacific Theater on the USS Cascade, repairing destroyers. He was in ‘the thick of it’ in Okinawa, and was awarded a battle star for the Battle of the Philippines.

Upon returning home, he resumed his employment at Forster Manufacturing Co., and soon had the opportunity to become foreman of the sheet metal department. Over his 38 year career, he mentored and trained many in the trade.

Known in Maine “as one of the best” he retired in 1977, and set up his own sheet metal shop up in Strong, in his wife’s former beauty salon. He often quipped it was the ‘only tin shop in Maine with black wallpaper’. He ran his shop at home for 18 years, and enjoyed building sap pans, stove and blower pipe, and all sorts of custom work for the public, and small woodworking mills of the area.

At age 80, he finally retired for good and the last 15 years of his life enjoyed planting, and growing “the best garden in town.” During his life, he was blessed with a loving family, great friends and neighbors. He enjoyed gardening with his hunting buddy Lyde Howes, and many fall hunts were enjoyed on Day Mountain at their camp. Hosting family and friends from away was always some of the best times. Having Walt and Fred up from Connecticut was an annual fall hunting tradition. He was picked in 1980 in Maine’s first Moose Lottery, and he and his son Roger enjoyed a successful hunt in Northern Maine, harvesting a 860 pound bull.

At 70, he accompanied his son Roger, grandson Russell, and granddaughter Kirsten — summited Katahdin, hiking up the Hunt Trail, traversing Knifes Edge, and descending the Helon Taylor Trail — a distance of 13 miles. He said he was awful glad he was invited, glad he went, but never wanted to do it again.

He hunted in Colorado, flew through the Grand Canyon, and saw his grandchildren seek adventure and education on the east coast and in the Rocky Mountains.

He was a 65-year member of Johnson-Cox Post American Legion, where for many years he took great pride as service officer, helping WWI veterans with service connected issues. For 60 years, he was a member of Blue Mountain Lodge in Phillips and past master of Davis Lodge 191 AF&AM in Strong, and was widely know for his proficiency and decorum in degree work.

He was a member of the Strong United Methodist Church, where for many years he served as chairman of the finance committee, and as lay leader.

On several different occasions, he served on the Strong Boy Scout troop committee. He was one of the founding members of the Strong Development Corporation, and for many years served as its treasurer. Also, for many years he was a member of the Strong Hunters Club.

His legacy is a life well lived, a true gentleman, loving family and friends, and as a proud tradesman.

He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Montress Wing Lambert; son, Roger and his wife, Kathy, of Strong; grandson, Russell Lambert, and his daughter, Morgan, of Clark, Colo.; granddaughter, Kirsten Smith, her husband, Chris, and daughter, Sophie of Alpine, Utah; granddaughter, Kasey and her fiancé, Tim DiBenedetti, of Chelsea; and 16 special nieces and nephews, of which he was proud, interested in, connected to and loved very much.

The family would like to express its appreciation for the loving care and compassion shown by the staff and management of the Edgewood Rehabilitation and Living Center. He and Mont enjoyed ‘the good life’ in the “Lambert Suite.”

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