BANGOR – Francis Jerome Woodhead passed away Sept. 7, 2013, after a brief illness. He is now reunited in heaven with his son, Dennis, who died in 1989. Our hearts ache with the loss of such an incredible husband, father, grandfather and, soon to be great-grandfather.
Francis was born Dec. 26, 1923, in Lewiston, the son of Edward Francis Woodhead and Angelina (Boutelle) Woodhead. Fran’s mother died when he was six, leaving Edward with six young children, all under the age of eight. Fran faced hardship and adversity through his younger years but rose above the circumstances dealt to him and became a successful and respected man.
After graduating from Lewiston High School he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942. He was stationed in the South Pacific on the island of Tinian, among other locations. In 1948, he again served his country with the U.S. Air Force in Korea.
He joined the Maine State Police in 1951 attaining the rank of Lieutenant before retiring in 1971. That same year he was appointed to Chief of the Bangor Police Department, retiring from that position in 1987. An article about his retirement in the Bangor Daily News stated that he was “The Policeman’s Policeman,” high praise indeed, and so true.
After retiring in 1987, Mom and Dad moved to Stuart, Fla., living on Rocky Point in the village of Port Salerno. For over 25 years they lived “the good life” watching sunsets and enjoying life on Manatee Pocket. During the summer months they would return to Phillips Lake in Dedham, to the cottage dad built “during his spare time” in the late 1960s. We are all grateful for the wonderful memories of those summers at camp and winter trips to Florida. Francis never let hard work get in the way of accomplishing what he wanted.
He was a graduate of the F.B.I. Academy of Quantico, Va., served on the Board of Directors of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Waterville, and Saint Michael’s Home, Bangor. He was the commander of the Civil Air Patrol for this area of the state. He was a pilot who, over the years, owned, crashed (just that one time) and re-built airplanes. He loved nothing better than a day flying from airport to airport around Maine. Fran was also an avid gun enthusiast and collector. He won the National Pistol Marksman Trophy in the late 1950s.
He will be deeply missed by his beloved wife, Beatrice (Bryant) Woodhead, with whom he celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on August 14th; and children, Gayle Kinney, Ellen Woodhead and James Woodhead. He was very close to his three grandchildren, K.C. Kinney and his wife, Heather, at whose wedding in 2011 he proudly served as the best man, and he delighted in the accomplishment of Elysa Woodhead and Vincent Woodhead. We are all so thankful and blessed to have had dad in our lives. He also leaves sisters, Lorraine Conant of Augusta and Evelyn LeVasseur of Portland; his brother, Howard Woodhead of Virginia; sister-in-law, Nancy Gielarowski of Brooklin, half brother, Bill Woodhead of Auburn; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his son, Dennis; his brothers, Edward Woodhead of Lewiston, and Richard Woodhead of Lewiston; and his son-in-law, Skip Kinney, who he loved like a son.
The family would like to thank mom and dad’s neighbors on Dunning Boulevard for their kindness both before and during dad’s illness, especially Miss Mona Kelley and her “human,” Pam Kelley. Mona’s frequent visits brought joy and laughter on days that contained little of either. Many thanks! We also thank St. Joseph’s Hospital and Dr. Parveep Paul for the compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Hospice for their invaluable assistance and Dr. David Hallbert and the staff at Martin’s Point Health Care.
Private interment will be at Mount Pleasant Catholic Cemetery, Bangor. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments 1-3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor. Those who wish to remember Chief Woodhead in a special way may make gifts in his memory to the Bangor Humane Society, 693 Mount Hope Ave., Bangor, ME 04401. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.