On Oct. 27, 2020, this soldier lost his last battle. Even though his health had been deteriorating over the past several years, Walther L. Aldus Jr.'s death came as a surprise to his loved ones. But as always, Dad did things his way and on his schedule.

Dad has now joined his wife, Phyllis J. Aldus, his parents, Ida and Walter Aldus Sr., and several siblings in heaven, and we should not forget his multiple faithful four-legged fur babies.

Dad is survived by his longtime, loving companion, Imogene Ginn of Bucksport; son Walter (Skip) Aldus of Bridgeton; daughter and son-in-law LaRhonda (Aldus) and Vincent Harris of West Gardiner; and two grandsons, Ronald Harris of Nobleboro and Christopher Harris of South China. And his present fur baby, Buffy.

Dad always said he was a lucky man to have met two women with whom he found love and who could put up with him. He truly was fortunate to have an extended family with Imogene’s daughter, Gail Lord, her children and grandchildren, and now even great-grandchildren. He truly was blessed to have so many people who loved him, not to mention his other surviving siblings, whom he loved dearly.

Dad was truly a hero in many aspects of his life. He served in the Army for more than 23 years, during which time he earned two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star Medal with four oak leaf clusters and Valor device, and the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters and Valor device, for his heroism during the Vietnam War. He was quiet regarding his military service, but no one ever doubted his patriotism. Dad took meticulous care of the flags he flew at his residences, the multiple Army hats (seven that we have found), Army coats, Army watches that he had purchased throughout his life, and of course his Purple Heart license plates. He always stood and saluted the flag, even when standing became difficult, as it passed by in a parade. He was a very proud American.

After retirement from the Army, Dad did several different jobs in and around Belfast before becoming employed at Champion Paper Co. in Bucksport, from which he retired in 2000. He was able to enjoy his retirement by spending the summers on Toddy Pond and winters in Bucksport. Snow removal and lawn mowing were his hobbies. When he was at camp, he worried about winter and the snow in Bucksport, and when he was in Bucksport, he worried about clearing the leaves and maintaining the gravel driveway at camp. These worries kept him very busy and active for several decades.

Dad loved his camp on Toddy Pond and kept it for as long as he could. It became too much for him to care for in his declining health, and he sold it last year. He mentioned several times this past summer that he was glad he was able to sell it so quickly, but he really did miss sitting on the porch, watching the boats and jet skis go by. He really did love that camp!

Dad was also a hero to his family in so many ways. He wore many hats … big brother, uncle, grandfather and dad. He was always available to assist and give advice; if he could help make a dream come true, he did. He didn’t always understand why we did the things we did, but that never stopped him from helping or voicing his “concern” about our decisions, sometimes over and over and over. But that is what a loving parent should do, right!

In case you weren’t aware, he also liked to eat … what did he like … ”Anything that wasn’t healthy,” as Imogene would say: ice cream, Burger King, Walmart muffins, fried full-belly clams, sweet cinnamon buns, crackers and milk and, of course, pickles! He hated being on a restricted diet. When he had medical appointments, it meant a lunch at Burger King (no salt on the fries), and then a stop at Dairy Queen. Who could deny him this?

Those who knew him also knew that he liked his vehicles, and most of his life he owned two vehicles at the same time and usually changed them every two or three years. He would always say, ”If I make it through this, I am going to get me a new truck,” and had recently talked of getting a new truck (he just bought a new SUV in March and he no longer drove). That is how much he enjoyed having a new vehicle. It always gave him something to look forward to. Sorry, Dad, you did not make it this time.

Some say you can take the man out of the military, but you cannot take the military out of the man. Dad was the poster child for this. His hair had to be cut short and tight, and lie down just right. He could not tolerate any “curly waves” at all (mind you, he routinely wore a U.S. ARMY hat, so no one really saw much of his hair) but he did not think he looked presentable if his hair was too long.

Now let’s talk about his shoes. As Dad got older, he turned to Velcro leather sneakers. As he wore them, they would start to show wear and tear (not acceptable), but he found that he could polish them. Every time he was out in Bangor, he would buy black shoe polish and shine those sneakers back to looking like new (usually better than new).

One time we were in Bangor at an appointment, and he had run out of polish, or at least was low (only two bottles left). He asked to stop at the Super Shoe Store by the Bangor Mall to go in and buy all that they had on the shelf. Unfortunately, they only had brown polish. I asked the salesclerk when they would get some in, and she said, “Well, we had some two weeks ago, but there is this nice elderly man, that whenever he comes in, he buys all the black polish off the shelf.” I asked her if by any chance if it was the elderly gentleman in the truck out front. She turned and looked outside and said, “Yes! That’s him!” We laughed and he smiled and waved. We went home empty-handed, but she promised to call when some came in.

He really did touch a lot of people in so many wonderful ways. He could always bring a smile to your day, no matter how poorly he felt.

These are the moments we will miss. He would get down and depressed at times and then a trip to Dairy Queen or a road trip around town would cheer him up. Those were cherished times. Small and simple, but cherished.

Dad was a giving person; just ask Imogene how many calendars they have gotten from various charities that he has donated to over the years (20-plus at last count). We would encourage everyone to hug their loved ones, cherish those small and simple moments, as they are all that matters. If you have a favorite charity, please continue to support them in lieu of sending flowers or cards (this is Dad’s request).

Due to the environment and restrictions that we have with COVID, the burial and celebration of life will be postponed until May, when the events can be held outside. Dad will be buried at the Maine Veterans Cemetery (Civic Center Campus) in Augusta with Mom, and a celebration of life will be held at one of Dad’s favorite eateries in Augusta. Remember, he loved fried clams!

Arrangements are with Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Bucksport, online at mitchelltweedie-young.com.