PARIS — Gilman Whitman has been selected as the veteran of the month at the Maine Veterans Home.

Gil was born on Oct. 26, 1926 in Portsmouth, N.H., and was raised in North Hampton, N.H. for several years before his family moved to Haverhill, Mass. After he was discharged he moved to Maine.

Gil graduated high school and then went on to the Essex Agricultural & Technical Institute in Haverhill. He took a three-year course majoring in floriculture and ornamental horticulture and got his degree in agriculture. During his last year of schooling, Gil was drafted into the Army. He petitioned the draft board to let him complete his studies and was given a four-month deferment. Gil graduated top of his class and received the Balfour award.

On March 1, 1945 Gil was then drafted in the U.S. Army during World War II. He served in the capacity of Provost Sergeant military police in the Philippines at the Leyte Detention Center on the island of Leyte guarding Japanese POWs. Gil received his orders direct from Gen. McArthur to “receive, guard, maintain and process all Japanese POW prisoners in all actions in the South Pacific.”

Gil received the Philippines Independence Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

After his discharge, Gil moved to Bryant Pond, where he owned a 100-acre wood lot which he logged for the Oxford Paper Company. He opened Whitman’s Variety Store in Locke Mills.

Gil married Elizabeth Noyes on Oct. 23, 1946. Together they traveled all over.

Gil took interest in politics and was elected as chairman of the Town Republican Committee. He served as Deputy Sheriff for Oxford County to act as a court officer during sessions of the Superior Court. In 1953 Gil opened the Maine Wildlife Den where he gave tours of his property for people to see live animals native to Maine. Gil also did taxidermy which he taught himself to do.

Gil’s political interest continued; in 1958 he was elected to the State Representative 99th Legislature. He was in charge of the Natural Resources Committee. In 1961 he was re-elected to the 100th Maine Legislature and elected 3rd member of the House Leadership.

In 1961 Gil opened up a blacksmith and woodworking shop called the Yankee Craftsman. Over the years Gil’s craftsmanship became well known so he renamed his shop to the Gilman Whitman Art Gallery. Gil made a lot of art work and sculptures throughout his life. He made the 14-foot crank phone sculpture that resides at the Remembrance Park in Bryant Pond.

Gil also had another passion and that was music. He and three other gentlemen formed a barbershop quartet called the Balladiers.

Gil enjoys reading, music, sketching and creating works of art.

Gil came to the Maine Veterans’ Home in 2011 and resides on the Residential Care Unit.

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