BATH — Stewart H. Day Jr., 91, of Bath, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 20, 2015, surrounded by family. He was born on Sept. 29, 1923, in Quincy, Mass., eldest son of Stewart Sr. and Frances. He grew up in Bath, graduated from the Bath school system, and started his working career at Bath Iron Works.

At 19, with WWII in progress, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and became a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. Assigned to the 8th Air Force, he traveled to and trained at multiple locations across the U.S. before being stationed in North Africa and England. He flew 19 bombing missions over German occupied territory. During those missions, he was credited for shooting down four enemy fighters. On his last mission, his plane was damaged by enemy fire and crash-landed in the ocean off the coast of Bordeaux, France. One of only two survivors of the crash, Stewart was wounded, captured by the Germans, and spent 19 months as a POW at Stalag 17B in Austria. While a POW, he was the map maker for the escape committee. After being liberated by Allied Forces, he returned to the U.S., was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant, and was awarded an Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and a Purple Heart.

 

 

After the war he resumed his career at BIW, where he remained until retiring in 1988 as a lofts man. He met his future wife, Teresa Gallant, in 1949. They married on Nov. 5, 1950, designed and built a home on lower High Street in Bath, and raised two sons, Gary and Joseph. In the early 1960s, Stewart and his childhood friend Bud Merry built a recreational cabin on Schoodic Lake near Brownville Jct, ME. Stewart and his family spent many memorable weekends and vacations at the cabin; boating, fishing, and relaxing. He later designed and built a new home on Quaker Point in West Bath where he and Teresa lived for 12 years before moving to Graffam Way in Bath.

Stewart was a lifelong outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting all manner of game and fishing the salt and fresh waters of Maine. He especially enjoyed many wilderness canoe fishing trips in the Allagash Wilderness River System with his friend Bud Merry, son Joe, and others. Stewart realized his dream of going to Alaska seven times after his son Gary moved to Alaska and lived for 28 years. His trips to Alaska ranged in length from two weeks to two months. On those trips, he witnessed the sights of Alaska’s Inside Passage, Denali Park, Mt. McKinley, the volcanic eruption of Mt. Spur just west of Anchorage in 1992, the volcanoes on the western side of Cook Inlet, and the fjords of the Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward.

He did a weeklong float trip down a remote Alaska creek with Teresa and Gary in 1983 and caught many salmon and trout. On trips from 1989 to 2003, he mostly fished the salt waters of Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay catching 50-pound king salmon, halibut, rock fish, and coolers full of feisty 10- to 12-pound silver salmon. He saw just about every species of wildlife available in Alaska including grizzly and black bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and rocky mountain goats. On his salt water fishing trips, he saw porpoise, sea otters, sea lions, sea birds, orca, beluga, and humpback whales. Stewart’s final trip to Alaska was to accompany his son Gary on his relocation drive back to Maine in May 2007.

As a teenager, Stewart found a near perfect stone arrowhead that lead to a lifelong interest in digging and collecting local Native American artifacts. Over the years, he collected over 200 unbroken arrowheads and spear points, many broken points, axe heads, pottery pieces, and other items he found and dug himself with the help of a few close friends and family from sites along the coast and rivers in the Mid-coast Maine region. In 2011, after a visit to the Maine State Museum in Augusta, he decided to offer them his collection. After museum representatives saw his collection, they happily agreed to take a large portion of it. Stewart reserved a number of fine pieces, framed, and presented them to family members as mementos.

Stewart was also a lifelong craftsman and artist. He took courses on taxidermy, drawing, and painting, and he used those skills to create a multitude of bird and animal carvings in wood and horn. Larger projects included a 16-foot West Pointer lapstreak wooden boat with cabin, two wood and canvas canoes, handcrafted bentwood snowshoes and toboggans for his boys.

Stewart was also a traveler and adventurer and enjoyed visiting places of national and historical significance. In the 1960s, he took his family on a monthlong cross-county trip and visited such notable sites as Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks, The Badlands, Niagara Falls, and more. In retirement, he and Teresa took their 5th wheel trailer to central Florida each year for about 10 years. While wintering in Florida, they took several cruises to the Caribbean Islands and one through the Panama Canal, stopping to visit some Mexican ruins along the way. They also traveled to San Antonio, New Orleans, Nashville, Branson, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island where Teresa has family.

Stewart is predeceased by his younger brother Phillip Day of West Bath. He is survived by his wife Teresa of 64 years, son Gary and wife Susan of West Bath, son Joseph and wife Brenda of Brunswick and their children Alyssa and Matthew. Also, sisters Tamara Badders of Largo, FL and Lucinda Ballard of West Point, many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visitation will be from noon to 1 p.m., with a memorial service to be held at 1 p.m. at David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home, 638 High St. in Bath on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Stewart will be buried at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Stewart’s name to Bath Area Senior Citizens Inc. at 46 Floral St., Bath, ME 04530.

The Day family would like to express special thanks to the doctors and nurses of Mid Coast Hospital and the nurses of CHANS who cared for Stewart. They also express special thanks to Stewart’s cousin Steven Day of Freeport for his caring support and to Stewart’s niece Judy Marquis and husband Joe Marquis for coming all the way from Texas to lend their care and support.

To share your thoughts and condolences with the family, please visit www.desmondfuneralhomes.com.