David Ardy Kamila

LITCHFIELD – David Ardy Kamila, 76, had what his brother called a “wild wisdom.” Mixed with his drive to serve his family and his community, this spirit guided his path through life. Never were these qualities more visible than during his final months with us.

David’s dramatic two-month saga of injuries, ER visits, ambulance rides, hospitalizations, and even a slow-motion wheelchair getaway from a rehabilitation hospital with a police escort back (an adventure he described as the most fun he’d had since childhood), were all met with his characteristic high energy, maverick creativity, good humor, extreme grit, and his full dose of the Finnish spirit of “sisu.”

His final wild ride and his years-long battle with cancer ended on May 31, 2024, as the sun rose over the lake at his much-loved Sunshine Farm in Litchfield with his daughter at his side and his heart filled with peace, love, and gratitude for the life he had lived and the people he had known.

Beloved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, colleague, neighbor and friend, David was born on Dec. 7, 1947, the third child and second son of the late Irene (Tuomi) and Adolf “Ardy” Kamila of Westminster, Mass.

David grew up in a large Finnish-American family in a neighborhood with enough boys to make a baseball team. He attended the Westminster public schools, where his aunt was the school nurse and his uncle was the school custodian. As a teenager, he worked on his grandfather, Axel Tuomi’s farm in Westminster, Mass. He spent winters skiing Mount Wachusett and summers enjoying Wyman Lake.

He ran track and cross country and participated in the ski club at Oakmont High School in Ashburnham, Mass., where he graduated in 1965, as a National Merit Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. He went on to study civil engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi and the Ski Team, where he was a co-captain and helped win the 1968 New England Intercollegiate Ski Conference championship. He graduated in 1970.

In 1971, he married Terry Yale McKenney of Ashburnham, Mass., and settled in Westminster, Mass., working for engineering firms in Clinton and Westminster. After his daughter, Avery Yale Kamila, was born, he and his family moved to Clearwater, Fla., where he worked for Hilborn, Werner, Carter & Associates.

The pull of New England soon brought him to Litchfield where he and Terry created Sunshine Farm, growing organic vegetables and raising goats, chickens and pigs and selling produce at the Augusta Farmers Market. His daughter, Kay-Lee Yale Kamila, joined the family at Sunshine Farm.

David served in the Massachusetts 110th Armor, the Florida 124th Infantry and the Maine 152nd Maintenance divisions of the Army National Guard.

He and his brother-in-law, Ken Parkhurst, formed the construction firm Maine Farm Builders in 1978. He left Maine Farm Builders to become a partner at, and later president of, the civil engineering firm Land Use Consultants in Portland. In 2007, he sold the firm to Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Once their daughters were grown, David and Terry spent winters in Portland. During these years, David gained a son-in-law, Adam C.N. Hill, celebrated his retirement, and welcomed his much-loved only grandchild, Alden Axel McLellan Hill, for whom he regularly crafted presents ranging from vegan apple pies to canoe derby cars to outdoor ninja warrior courses.

While spending a great deal of time in Portland, David’s heart was always at Sunshine Farm, where he enjoyed fishing, boating, photographing wildlife, working in his organic gardens, displaying his collection of John Bisbee sculptures, and gathering family and friends for celebrations large and small (often involving huge bonfires, out-of-control fireworks, giant slingshots or axe throwing).

David was active in Litchfield civic life, serving many terms on the Litchfield Planning Board, some as chair, and serving on other committees including the Board of Appeals and Litchfield’s Bicentennial Committee. David served on the board of the Cobbossee Watershed District and the New Mills Dam Committee, which he chaired. He was active with the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed, the Kennebec Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Maine Association of Site Evaluators. Previously he served on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Task Force for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

He volunteered for decades with Maine Adaptive in Bethel and in more recent years with the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center in Brunswick. A photo he took of adaptive skiing was included in the exhibition “Everyday Maine,” which spent 2018-2019 on view at the the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine and the University of New England Art Gallery.

Previously, David served on the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland board, honored with a Golden Hammer award in 2004, and the Maine Real Estate and Development Association board, honored as Volunteer of the Year in 2004 and with the public policy award in 2008.

For years, he and three close friends golfed weekly at Mere Creek Golf Club in Brunswick. After the passing of his wife of 47 years, he could often be found drinking coffee and enjoying the lively scene at Doolin’s Pub in Litchfield.

David was predeceased by his wife; mother, father, in-laws; brother-in-law, Gilson McKenney, II, and sister-in-law, Lee McKenney.

He is survived by his daughters; grandson; son-in-law; sister, Joyce Hannula, and husband, Lloyd, of Westminster, Mass., brother, Tom Kamila, and wife, Diana, of Ashburnham, Mass., sister, Linda Gallant, and husband, Ronald, of Fitchburg, Mass., sister, Julie Gagnon and husband, Peter, of Westminster, Mass., and sister, Karen Colageo, and husband, Don, of Pembroke, N.H., sisters-in-law Wendy Harrington of Hallowell, and Barbara McKenney of Richmond; nieces Diane Trumbley, Nancy Shridhar, Tracey Meagher, Cari Lynn Kamila, Alexi Gallant, Rozalynn Parkhurst, Marcie Gagnon, Kristie Gagnon, and Haley Pickford, nephews John Meagher, Seth Hannula, Eric Kamila, Keith Gallant, and Ben Parkhurst; and numerous grandnieces, grandnephews; and cousins.

A celebration of his life will be held July 20 at 1 p.m. at Kincer Funeral Home, 130 Pleasant St., Richmond. Arrangements are under the care of Kincer Funeral Home.

Join the Conversation

Please sign into your Press Herald account to participate in conversations below. If you do not have an account, you can register or subscribe. Questions? Please see our FAQs.