Henry William “Bill” Detert

TOPSHAM/NORWAY/HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – Henry William “Bill” Detert, 92, a resident of The Highlands in Topsham, died peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Dec. 13, 2020. Bill was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend to all who knew him. The family would like to thank the caregivers at Chan’s Hospice Care in Brunswick and the staff at The Highlands in Topsham for the loving care given to Bill in his final days.

Bill was born Sept. 30, 1928 in Chicago to Mary Munch Detert and Henry William “Hank” Detert and grew up in Western Springs, Ill. He graduated from Lyons Township High School and attended Purdue University, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1950. He wrestled in several weight classes and helped Purdue win Big-Ten championships in 1948 and 1950.

Bill started his professional life at Babson Bros. in Chicago. He worked at several machine shops before moving to Maine and co-founding Maine Machine Products Company (MMPCo) in South Paris. Bill and partner Roland Sutton built MMPCo to be a leading machine shop in New England and were named Small Businessmen of the Year in 1968 by the Small Business Association of New England. Bill loved seeing people grow and succeed at the company and he looked back on the Maine Machine years and the people there with great fondness. Bill sold his interest in the company in 1982 and purchased Snocraft in Norway, manufacturing snowshoes and furniture until he retired several years later

Bill married Janet Spotswood in 1951 and for 58 years they shared a life of love, contentment and adventure. They loved to be outdoors, have picnics and enjoyed traveling to new places. They visited many countries in Europe, Central America and the Caribbean as well as seeing sights in the U.S. and Canada.

They shared a love of dogs and had many faithful companions over the years. Frequently a trip to town, a ride in the boat, a hike or a snowshoe included furry friends at their side. Family and his many friends were important to Bill. He was an enthusiastic supporter of his children and grandchildren at countless sporting and musical events. He loved music and sang in local Barbershop quartets and choirs and performed in several community theatre productions.

Bill loved spending time outdoors enjoying many years of skiing, hunting, hiking and tennis. The first Saturday every June for over 30 years was occasion for Bill and a steady group of friends to go to their fishing camp at Kennebago for comradery and fishing. He was an avid sailor on Norway Lake, the Maine coast and beyond sailing from Florida to Bermuda and back to Maine one year. Bill loved caring for the land and enjoyed 20 years of his retirement managing the family orange grove in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. and his land in Norway. He was often found on his favorite tractor mowing the grass or trimming trees at either location.

Bill gave back to the community serving on the boards of the Norway Water District, Stephen’s Memorial Hospital, NoPar Ski Area, Norway Kiwanis, Norway 2nd Congregational Church, the Howey Men’s Club and several citrus growers’ organizations. In 2010, he donated 20 acres in Norway to the Western Foothills Land Trust which he named the “Shepherd’s Farm Family Preserve”, ensuring that future generations could enjoy it as his family had for so many years.

Bill was a romantic and after moving to The Highlands in 2013, one special lady became the second great love of his life. Marilyn Crandlemire and Bill became inseparable sharing travel, love and life together until his passing. Bill was ever grateful for Marilyn entering into his life and his family feels the same way.

Bill was predeceased by Jan, his beloved wife of 58 years; his parents; and his sister, Mary Ann.

He is survived by partner, Marilyn Crandlemire; daughter Debbie Merrill, son Jim (Jean); grandchildren, Jason Merrill (Jaime George), Patrick Merrill (Kayley), Hillary Detert, William Detert; and great-grandson Connor Merrill.

There will be gathering of family and friends at Camp Detert on Norway Lake to celebrate Bill’s life this coming summer. Anyone who knew Bill can be assured there will be plenty of wine and cookies.

To leave a note of condolence or share a memory, please visit http://www.brackettfh.com.

Bill was supportive of the Western Foothills Land Trust (wfltmaine.org) and the Friends of the Gingerbread House in Norway (gingerbreadhousenorway.org).

The family asks that any donations go to one of those organizations in honor of Bill and his love for the Community.

Guest Book