Guy Dudley Jr. was the November Veteran of the Month at the Maine Veterans’ Home-Scarborough Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Guy Walter Dudley Jr. could light up a room with his smile. He had a gift for humor that was unparalleled, but never forgot the weight that World War II caused.

Guy, the Maine Veterans’ Homes – Scarborough Veteran of the Month for November, passed away at 12:05 p.m. Oct. 21.

Guy grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, one of eight children to Guy Walter Dudley Sr. and Jennie Davis. He worked for Atwater-Kent Manufacturing Co. when he was called to serve in the U.S.Army Air Force in 1942, at the tender age of 17. After basic training in Florida, Guy was assigned to be a munitions loader for the B-24 Liberator aircraft with the 15th Army Air Force at Amendola Air Base in Italy.

The B-24 aircraft could carry thousands of pounds of precision-guided munition and before each mission, Dudley and other soldiers had to place the munitions aboard the aircraft. Short-range bombs weighed 8,000 pounds and long-range bombs weighed 5,000 pounds; ultra long-range bombs weighed in at 2,700 pounds.

Unfortunately, there were times when crews didn’t come back, including one particular B-24 flight crew Guy will never forget. A plane full of his friends had just taken off when it exploded in front of him, killing all on board. Prior to his death, Guy described it as “heartbreaking.”

Guy Dudley Jr. served with the U.S. Army Air Force during WW II. Courtesy photo

His daughter, Cynthia Chadwick-Granger of Saco, said later in her father’s life, even from his wheelchair, he’d demonstrate how the bombs were rolled onto the planes. When he was asked what he did in the military, she said his answer was always, “Chasing Mussolini!” He’d also tell of the Italian children who asked the soldiers if they had any sugar or candy and if they did, they’d give it to the them. He’d often look at a photo of himself in uniform and say, “Can you believe I was only 17?”

Guy was honorably discharged from the military in 1945, and worked for Leeds and Northrup in North Wales, Pennsylvania, for 30 years as a tool and die maker. He and his wife, Catherine, decided they and their three young children could have a better life in Maine. They made the trek to Sanford, only to find that the home they were going to rent had burned down. The family lived in a tent for four months until they found a more permanent place to live, never letting their situation bring them down.

Guy instilled in his children a deep respect for others, which has stayed with them to this day. He was also known as a “Mr. Fix It,” which applied to both helping people and repairing damaged items. His daughter describes him as a kind soul, very humble and never boastful.

Both Guy and Catherine loved music. Guy sang and played guitar and the pair would frequent nursing homes to entertain residents. Among his favorite songs are, “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,” “How Great Thou Art,” “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” and “Down by the Riverside.”

Guy worked at Sprague Electric in Sanford for 20 years before he retired. At that time, he and his wife did the opposite of what most retirees do — they not only bought a house, they bought a 12-room Victorian that had been split up into three apartments. The Dudleys restored is back to a single-family home and found joy in decorating it and creating and tending to its many gardens. Catherine passed away in Dec. 31, 2017; the couple would have celebrated 60 years of marriage this year.

Guy passed away at MVH Scarborough, with his daughter by his side, as she was throughout the final years of his life. His legacy and dignity will be remembered by many and he was loved by all. Thank you for your service, Guy.

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