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Frederick Willoughby Weston Jr.


1922 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Frederick Willoughby Weston Jr. Obituary
Frederick Willoughby Weston, Jr.

Rome, ME - Frederick Willoughby Weston Jr., long-retired executive with the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, veteran of World War II, and raconteur, died at his home in Rome, Maine, on 31 May 2018. He was 95.

He was born 16 December 1922, in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, the fourth of four children, to Frederick Willoughby Weston and Phyllis Whitcomb Weston. He grew up outside of Philadelphia, in Wynnewood, PA, and attended Episcopal Academy, the Mohonk School, and Lehigh University.

When Freddy was four, his father died of complications from an appendectomy. He was raised by his single mother and his three siblings, and spent most of his summers with his aunt and uncle, William and Miriam Wattles, at their camp on Great Pond in Rome, Maine. Thus began at an early age his long association with, and eventual residency in, Rome. It was there that he met, when not yet a teenager, Ruth Lambert, third daughter of John and Ruth Lambert of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, whom he would marry.

He began at Lehigh in 1942, but right after Thanksgiving and before acting on his intention to enlist, he was drafted into the army. He trained as an infantryman in Georgia and Illinois and, in 1944, he was assigned to Douglas MacArthur's Sixth Army. On October 20th, he went ashore in the Philippines, in the second amphibious assault on the island of Leyte. Eight days later, he was wounded by Japanese artillery fire, and was evacuated, through New Guinea, Hawaii, and San Francisco, finally to Atlantic City where he convalesced for some months in 1945. He was awarded, among other decorations, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with Bronze Service Star and the Purple Heart. His fellow soldiers never knew that he was cousin to Henry L. Stimson, Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of War.

In the fall of 1945, he returned to Lehigh on the GI Bill, where he joined (with his Great Dane, Lena) the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, manned with his pet owl the library's reference desk, and won the University's street and sidewalk snowplowing contract, which, with a certain notoriety, he performed with an army-issue jeep and jury-rigged blade. He was graduated in 1948 and, in the five years following, worked variously in Pennsylvania and Maine as, among other things, an auto parts salesman and plumber's apprentice. Eventually he and Ruthie decided to marry, and he took an entry-level management position with New Jersey Bell (now Verizon). They wed on 10 January 1953 and moved into a small cottage (a converted chicken coop) behind the home of their landlord on Beechwood Avenue in West Long Branch, NJ.

They lived in WLB for thirty years, raised their three children there, and split their summers between the Jersey shore and Great Pond. Freddy was a long-time member of the town's land-use planning commission and a founding member of the Hoppertown Anti-Conflagration Society, which was dedicated solely to the preservation and unorthodox use of a 1930 American LaFrance hook and ladder fire engine. He retired from the Bell System in 1977 and free-lanced in plumbing and carpentry. In 1983, he and Ruthie moved to Rome. Over the next 35 years, Freddy devoted himself to the upkeep of the Lambert family camp and was active with the Rome Ruff Riders (the local snowmobile club), the Belgrade Lakes Dams Committee, the Rome Intellectual Club, and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Ruthie died in 1987 and his eldest child, Craigen, in 2008. He is survived by a daughter, Martha Feldmann of East Greenwich, RI, and a son, Frederick W. Weston III, and his wife, Karen, of Waterbury, VT, six grandchildren, and legions of friends and relatives who marveled at his industry, humor, acuity, and bad habits and who knew that, however exasperating he might at times have been, there was no one more loyal, generous, and devoted to family and community than he.

A memorial gathering and barbeque will be held at the family's camp on Great Pond at noon on July 7th.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in his name to his favored causes: Episcopal Academy, 1785 Bishop White Drive, Newtown Square, PA 19073; the 7 Lakes Alliance, 137 Main Street, PO Box 250, Belgrade Lakes, Maine 04918; and the Maine Children's Cancer Program, c/o the Augusta Elks, Lodge 964, PO Box 2206, Augusta, Maine 04338.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.lawrybrothers.com

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers-Wheeler, 26 Church St., Oakland.
Published in Asbury Park Press on June 14, 2018
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