THORNDIKE — On Dec. 16, 2022, our loving dad, husband, grampa, uncle, friend and neighbor, Roger Wingate Sr., earned his wings after a short battle with cancer.

He was born in Troy on June 27, 1926, to Linwood and Gladys (Heath) Wingate. He left school before graduating (“snuck out the bathroom window one day and never went back”), immediately went to work at a young age and continued to carry his amazing work ethic throughout his entire life.

He met the first love of his life, Kathleen “Kay” Murphy of Brooks, and they were married in 1947. They built their forever home in Thorndike, where they raised their three children and ran the family farm. He held many jobs, including driving truck for the Brooks Canning factory, dairy farmer, logging, driving snow plow for Lee Brothers in Albion and school bus for Regional School Unit 3 for years. He retired for the second time in his mid-80s. He was a member of the Thorndike Fire Department and served as road commissioner for the town of Thorndike. He was an active Mason for many years.

Roger loved gardening and always made sure he was the first one to get his peas in the ground before anyone else. In his later years, his son Sonny helped him to plant and maintain his bountiful garden.  Roger was also quite a dancer in his time and sure knew how to “cut a rug” on Saturday nights. He was known for his sense of humor, quick wit, and as “everyone’s bus driver.” He couldn’t go anywhere without someone stopping to say, “Hey, you drove my bus,” or “Roger, do you remember the time….”

In 1975, he lost his first wife to an aneurysm. He was blessed to find the second love of his life, Carolyn Libby-Cox of Winterport, and they married in June 1976. Together they raised their combined family and continued to make many happy memories.

Roger was quite a storyteller and loved to share his stories with anyone who would listen. Over the years the stories would change and you might even hear the same story two times or ten, but we never got tired of hearing them.

In 2020, on his 94th birthday, he was presented Thorndike’s Gold Top Cane as the oldest living citizen of the town, which made him an honorary member of the Thorndike Historical Society. He was so proud of this honor and always made sure to show his plaque to anyone who visited.

He touched so many lives and to say he will be missed would be a huge understatement. His memory will shine on forever in our minds and in our hearts. During his final days, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Roger was predeceased by his father, Linwood Wingate; mother, Gladys Wingate Small; his first wife Kathleen “Kay” Wingate; daughter Charlene Higgins; stepdaughter Valerie Erb; and his sisters, Ferne Curtis and Marion Edgerly.

He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Carolyn Wingate; his children: Roger (Sonny or, as he referred to him, Junie) and Tammie Wingate, both of Thorndike; Judy Kanny and husband Dave of High Falls, N.Y.; Lorraine Cox and partner Ronnie Levesque of Freedom; Reneé Cohen and Kevin Cox and wife Laurel of Porter; and several nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful care and support that was given from the staff of Northern Light Home Care & Hospice and to the Shorey and Nichols Funeral Home of Pittsfield.

A very special thank you to his granddaughter Melissa Rand and “granddaughter-in-law” Naomi Dewalt (Robinson) for all the loving care they gave him during his final days. They were truly a godsend.

A celebration of life will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, at the Snow Dusters Clubhouse, Fischer Road in Unity. The family invites you to bring a dish and a story (or two) to share.

To leave a message of kindness or to share a memory, please visit shoreynichols.com.

Care has been provided by Shorey Nichols Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

 

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