Raymond E. "Ray" Titcomb

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  • "I can remember as a 4-Her and we visited his sap house on..."
    - Howard Hardy
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Service Information
Wiles Remembrance Centers
137 Farmington Falls Road
Farmington, ME

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA -- Farmington native, Raymond E. "Ray" Titcomb, 83, of Chesterville, ME and Kissimmee, Fla., died of natural causes on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, with family at his side.

He was born Sept. 5, 1928, in Farmington, the son of Clarence J. and Esther (Ellsworth) Titcomb. He was a graduate of Farmington High School, Class of 1946 and continued his education at the University of Maine, Orono, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned his degree in agriculture economics in 1950.

In February of 1950, he married Colleen Ayer, and later that summer assumed the responsibility for Titcomb Hill Farm, with a milking herd of 40 registered guernseys, which had been operated by Burleigh Crockett and his mother, Esther. At that time, they delivered between 100 and 150 quarts of raw milk daily and made home deliveries to customers and to retail grocery stores. In a ten year period, the business grew to 5,000 quarts a day of pasteurized and homogenized milk, with home and retail delivery to all of Franklin County. He carried a full line of dairy products, eggs, cheeses, ice cream and orange juice and made 200 gallons of maple syrup annually. At that time, he employed six year-round employees and ten in March and April during maple syrup season.

In 1957, he purchased the Wayside Grill on Rt. 4, enjoyed three years of successful ownership and sold the business in 1960.

In 1959, he married Virginia Blaisdell Huntoon, "Ginny". In 1971, they sold the farm and business to Randall Gifford.

A business entrepreneur and avid outdoorsman, Ray was never idle. In the mid 1960s, he participated in white water canoe racing in Maine and won many of the races with partners Brud Hodgkins and George Walsh. Ray and George collaborated on designing and building strip canoes and sold their design to Mad River Canoe Co. It was called the "T.W.Special". He was proud to discover that one of their originals is currently on display at Sea World in Florida. In '68, '69, '70 and the spring of '71 they entered the National White Water races. In '70 , they lost by only 30 seconds after a 2 hour, 10 minute paddle. They traveled as far as Indiana and took third in the slalom.

In the late 60s and early 70s, Ray was a trustee of the First National Bank. In 1970, he built a log cabin on "Chain of Ponds" which he sold in '81. In the early 70s, he worked as a guide part time at Big Island Sporting Camps at Colburn Gore for private guests. In '77 and '78, he managed King Bartlett Camps in Eustis. And in 1979 and '80 purchased 130 acres of land in Industry from Olando Small and started organizing a maple syrup business. In 1981, he bought back the Titcomb Hill Farm and formed Maine Maple Products Inc. He bought over 90 percent of all syrup produced in northern Maine and from over 54 Canadian producers who came into Maine and hired trees to tap from the paper companies and set up Sugar Bush Camps for boiling. He went from selling 200 gallons of syrup, to over 1 million pounds (11 pounds to a gallon) in 1986, when he sold to American Maple Products of Vermont because of poor health.

He built his log cottage on Clearwater Lake in 1989 and though plagued by heart problems he continued to manage Maine Maple Products until 1994. He and his wife Ginny retired and spent winters in Kissimmee. She predeceased him in April of 1999, following a long illness.

In December of 2001, Ray married Dorothy (Comstock) Judkins and they enjoyed mutual interests of fishing, camping and hunting and divided their time between their home in Chesterville, camp at Rockwood, and wintering in Florida, from November to May.

His grandchildren describe him as a teacher; he was always so generous with his time and desire to share his passions. He spent many joyous hours teaching them how to fly fish, hunt, ski, drive, play cribbage and to enjoy and respect the great outdoors.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy J. Titcomb of Chesterville; his stepfather Burleigh Crockett and his wife, Corine of Waterville; daughters, Susan Letts and her husband Marty of Naples, Fla.. Peggy Palazzo and her husband John of Middletown, NY, and Deborah Mallett of Industry; stepson Bruce Judkins and his wife Bonnie of Chesterville; stepdaughter Joline Merrill and her husband Doug of Florida and their families; a sister, Patricia Clark and her husband Carleton of North Anson; grandchildren, Josh Marshall and his wife Ali, Gil Palazzo, Jodi Palazzo, Samantha Mallett, Bridgette Mallett and Hollis Mallett; and two great grandchildren, Max and Molly Marshall.

Family and friends are invited to call at the Wiles Remembrance Center, 137 Farmington Falls Road., Farmington, Tuesday, 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the center Wednesday at 3 p.m. with the Rev. John Gensel and the Rev. John Tolman co-officiating. Following services, a reception will be held at the center. Remembrance gifts may be given in his memory to either the Farmington Historical Society Titcomb House, c/o Taffy Davis, 239 Titcomb Hill Road, Farmington, ME, 04938 or to the Titcomb Ski Education Foundation, Att: Membership/Program Scholarship, PO Box 43, Farmington, ME 04938. Condolences and tributes may be shared with the family on his memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com. Winter entombment is at the funeral home. Spring burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Farmington.

Published in Central Maine on Jan. 9, 2012
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