NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. – William F. "Bill" Folsom, 83, passed away Sunday, May 29, 2011, after a brief illness. He was born July 5, 1927, in Augusta, son of Farnham and Dorothy Folsom.
He attended Cony High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track, and graduated in 1945. Bill observed his 18th birthday aboard a U.S. Navy Seaplane tender bound for the Philippines, where he was assigned to a water-supply group with the Seabees. After his military service he attended Portland Junior College, where he lettered in basketball and tennis. He continued his college education at Springfield College, Class of 1953, where he lettered in basketball and baseball, and graduated with a degree in physical education and health. Bill’s coaching career spanned for a period of 27 years, from 1953 to 1980. He compiled one of Maine’s best records as a basketball coach and was well known as a player’s coach and a meticulous planner. He began at Orono High School, 1953-1961, with a basketball record of 119 wins and 42 losses. He brought home the gold ball twice in state Class B basketball in 1958 and 1961 and once for state Class B football. At Westbrook High School, 1961-1980, his win-loss record was 273-135. For 14 consecutive seasons, Bill’s Westbrook Blue Blazes qualified for the Western Maine Basketball Tournament. He brought home the gold ball twice in state Class A basketball in 1972 and 1975. In 1969 Westbrook narrowly missed a state title when they lost to Caribou on a half-court shot at the buzzer. Even though his team missed the state championship, Bill became the only Maine coach ever to be named basketball coach of the year for District 1, New England, by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. He left coaching in 1980 to become the A.D. at Westbrook High School. In 2005 Bill was inducted into Maine Sports Hall of Fame. In 1987 Bill retired at age 59 and moved to North Fort Myers, Fla., where he enjoyed golfing, tennis and the Red Sox.
Bill was happily married for 55 years to Shirlee (Griffin) Folsom, who predeceased him. She was the love of his life. He leaves behind two sons, Mark Folsom and wife, Denise, and Jonathan Folsom and wife, Kelly; four grandchildren, Danielle, William, Jennifer and Christopher, who will sadly miss their "Gampa"; a great-grandson, Maddox Myers; a sister, Marjorie Clark; sisters-in-law, Lois Ozias, Elaine Folsom and Patricia Folsom; a nephew, Bruce Bowers; a good friend, Yvonne Beicht; his many golfing and tennis buddies of Del Tura; many friends, nieces and nephews.
Interment will be this summer in the family plot in Augusta. A graveside ceremony will be announced at a later date.