1934 – 2014

BRUNSWICK — Robert Cecil Eldredge, 79, of Topsham, died Tuesday, May 20, at Mid Coast Hospital.

He was born in Boise, Idaho, on Nov. 17, 1934, a son of the late Clarence Cecil Eldredge and Ester Ann Stratton. He graduated from Marsh Hill High School in Coos Bay, Ore.; he was an active member of the music program and participated in the school’s Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1952, ultimately retiring in 1974 as an officer. He married Ann Marie Marko and adopted her three children as his own, Bob, Renae and Ann. Roberta was born into the family and was raised with the other siblings.

Cecil saw many ports-of-call in his 20-plus years in the Navy. He especially enjoyed the oriental ports, particularly Japan. He was intrigued with its customs and way of life. He was a veteran of the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, and was last stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station, where he met the former Rita Cyr. They were married two years later in Lewiston on June 3, 1974. He and Rita started their life together in Lewiston, while Cecil attended the University of Maine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 in computer science.

Soon after graduation, Cecil began his second career at Bates Manufacturing in Lewiston as a programmer/analyst. His career took them from Lewiston to Rockport to Dixmont and they finally settled in Topsham. Cecil and Rita traveled extensively and visited many parts of the world, where they particularly tried to feel and understand the local cultures they visited. They traveled until Alzheimer’s disease made it difficult for Rita to travel. Cecil maintained a constant vigil as her companion and caregiver throughout her long illness. Rita died on Aug. 3, 2009, falling victim to Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2007, two years before Rita passed, Cecil began to volunteer at Brunswick Area Respite Care. He soon took a seat on the board of directors and co-facilitated the Alzheimer’s Support Group with director, Nancy Herk. Most recently, he became the group’s treasurer. His involvement with this group allowed him to share his experience of the disease that took his sweetheart. This exchange helped the members deal with their loved ones who had Alzheimer’s and dementia. He was very passionate in this role.

In 2009, he became an ombudsman, a state of Maine volunteer position, in which he would investigate complaints and concerns for quality of life and care for long-term care consumers who were living in nursing homes. He explained that he was the voice for many who could not communicate and was successful in helping them get the treatment they needed. He was very proud of this role.

Over the past couple of years, Cecil enjoyed playing bridge at the People Plus Center in Brunswick. He was very skilled and enjoyed the challenge of playing bridge. He was an inveterate crossword-puzzle solver, and enjoyed challenging games that required mathematics and geometry skills. His crossword skills earned him a position as a proofreader for Dell Publishing Co. He would proofread (solve) new crossword puzzles and scrutinize them for accuracy and content.

Cecil was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and attended services in Topsham. He was an active member and will truly be missed. His smile was far-reaching and his generosity was admirable.

Cecil had an extreme passion for music. His music collection was vast and his knowledge of music compositions unrivaled. He knew all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies and, remarkably, could identify and name each with just a few notes. Music always filled his home and was a large part of his life.

Cecil is survived by 10 children and stepchildren, Cynthia Faulk of Mars Hill, Marc Bernier of Auburn, Tina Bisson and her husband, Andre, of Topsham, Robert Eldredge of Bruceton, Tenn., Robert Bernier and his wife, Diana, of Auburn, Renae Dixon and her husband, Donald, of Central Point, Ore., Patricia Bolduc and her husband, Robert, of Wales, Ann Young and her husband, Christopher, of Wilsonville, Ore., Roberta Croly and her husband, Richard, of Issaquah, Wash., and Paul Bernier and his wife, Denise, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; two sisters, Donna Lovell of Portland, Ore., and Wilma Hopper of Coos Bay, Ore.; 24 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his parents; by Rita Eldredge, his wife of 35 years; and one sister, Shirley West.

Online condolences and a photo gallery are at www.thefortingrouplewiston.com.

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