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Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN

ORONO – Francis “Frank” Richard Wihbey, 65, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, at Torrey Pines State Reserve, California. An avid outdoorsman and lover of nature, he suffered a fall while hiking. He was born Oct. 20, 1944, in Waterbury, Conn., to John and Jane Wihbey. His family on both sides had come from Lebanon in the early 20th century and settled in the Waterbury, Conn., area. His undergraduate work was at the University of Connecticut. He earned a master’s degree in library science at the University of Southern Maine. He worked for a time at Yale Divinity Library. He had recently retired from many years as a librarian at the University of Maine Fogler Library, where he headed the government documents department. A modern day renaissance man, he had many interests. He was affiliated with a variety of area choral groups, including St. John’s Chamber Choir. With a group of other outdoor enthusiasts from the U.S. and Canada, he helped found the International Appalachian Trail, continuing the trail’s stretch north of Mount Katahdin and across the border. He helped translate a bilingual hiker’s guide into French. Throughout a number of years, he had completed the trail’s sections from Maine to New Jersey. He was an active blogger, who founded the online Maine Nature News, which included the spring Black Fly Report, and a writer who loved the quirkiness of the human world and the horizons of science. He was an amateur naturalist, an endless tinkerer with gadgets and an astronomer, whose passionate interest in the stars began when he was a boy. He is survived by his beloved wife, Karen. He leaves behind the joys of his life and their spouses, John and Carrie of Cambridge, Mass., Lynn and Shon of Riverside, Calif., and Kristina and Tristan of Philadelphia. He is also survived by brothers, Gary and Wayne; and his sister, Jane “Blackbird.” A memorial service will be held 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at Wells Commons at the University of Maine, Orono.

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