Henry J. “Lefty” Gilbert

LEWISTON – A hero and a gentleman passed away on June 30, 2020 surrounded by his family and friends to be with his Lord in whom he had great faith. Born in Lewiston on Nov. 20, 1925, he was the son of Wilfred and Adelaide Caron Gilbert and married his one love, Lois Earley of Sabattus, whom he always referred to as his angel. He attended Holy Family School after which he went to work as a lumberman, then Bates Mill, followed by being a brick maker at Morin and Dennis Brickyards. He joined the United States Marine Corps where he served with valor, bravery, and courage serving in one of this country’s bloodiest battles. He was wounded in action in March, 1945 at Iwo Jima where he participated in active operations against the enemy and was transferred to a hospital in Guam then Pearl Harbor. Upon his discharge he was authorized to wear the following ribbons: Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation (for being one of first to land from amphibious landing crafts), Asiatic-Pacific (1 star), American Theater, Victory and the Rifle Sharpshooter Badge. It was with great humility he accepted them and was definitely known as a true Marine and his pride in being one never faltered. Semper Fi meant something to him. He was a 74-year life member of the American Legion Post 22. He worked for two construction companies before deciding to start his own Gilbert Construction in 1966. After years of home and business construction, he retired in 2011 at the age of 85. A customer claimed: “The man was bigger than life.” He loved challenges of all kind including refurbishing the original brickmaking machine of Morin’s brickyard which became a major artifact for Museum L-A all while volunteering his many hours. Sports was major as he started at a young age playing hockey and baseball with the local Panther Club. Love of sports remained throughout his life and as he spent his winters in Florida, spring training games was a much-anticipated pleasure where he did it differently, climbing over fences and crossing lagoons to gather used league balls as well as broken bats. He brought them home, repaired them then distributed them to many happy children honored to showcase these on their bedroom walls or swing them while playing, especially if they happened to get one with a famous number or name on it.He enjoyed always building something or working in his yard mowing, mulching or growing beautiful flowers and vegetables, especially his much-loved garlic since he put it on about everything. Garlic was as important as his spearmint gum. He was always ready to help family and friends by painting, doing yardwork, building decks or any way he could. Relaxing meant sitting on his deck having a drink or sipping a nice cold beer. He was one of the most generous people ever. When he became your friend, you knew you had a true friend. We are sure that if the good Lord needs any carpentry done, he will have the greatest craftsman to call upon. Our loss is heaven’s gain. He is loved and will be missed deeply.Henry was predeceased by his mother and father, Wilfred and Adelaide Gilbert; and his three siblings, Wilfred Gilbert Jr. and twins Clement Gilbert and Jacqueline Vaillancourt. He is survived by his wife, Lois of 49 years; and many nieces and nephews who adored their uncle. Visitation will be held Wednesday July 8, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fortin Group, Horton Street, Lewiston. A Mass of Christian Burial honoring Henry’s life will be held at 11 a.m. with celebrant Fr. Robert Vaillancourt, Thursday July 9, at Holy Family Church, followed by committal prayers and military honors at St. Peter’s Cemetery. COVID-19 guidelines to be observed at both events. The family respectfully requests that individuals bring their own chair to the graveside if needed.Condolences and sharing of memories to the Gilbert family may be expressed at http://www.thefortingrouplewiston.com. Services have been entrusted to The Fortin Group Lewiston, 70 Horton St., Lewiston, ME 04240, 207-784-4584. Memorial donations may be made toMuseum L-A35 Canal Street, Box A7Lewiston, ME 04240or online at http://www.museumla.org. or to Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice15 Strawberry Ave.Lewiston, ME 04240

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