Edward “Ted” Bromage died peacefully at MDI Hospital on Sept. 10 after a long, wonderful life shared with family and countless friends that he gathered along each step of his journey.
Ted was born on June 1, 1937, in Providence, R.I., where his father worked for the Providence Journal-Bulletin. He grew up in Barrington, R.I., where he spent his youth working in boatyards and sailing on Narragansett Bay. With family, relatives and friends, he spent as much time as possible on the lakes of Winthrop, Maine, where his parents eventually bought a camp in 1961.
After graduating from Barrington High School in 1955, Ted attended Wesleyan University (Class of 1959). On Nov. 1, 1958, All Saints Day, he met his beloved Joan, his “Sweet Baboo.” Ted and Joan immediately connected over their shared love for Maine — her family spent time in Southwest Harbor when she was growing up. Ted attended Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Va., in the summer of 1959 where, family legend has it, Joan proposed to him. As ensign he greatly enjoyed his sea time on the cutter Bibb on patrol in the North Atlantic. He and Joan were married on Aug. 13, 1960, in Philadelphia.
Daughter Sally was born in October 1962. Just months later, in December, Ted’s father died — far too early. After Ted left the Coast Guard, he went to work for Armstrong World Industries in June 1963. Armstrong took the family to Lancaster, Pa., California and, in 1965, to Florham Park, N.J., which became the family base for the next 29 years. Son Stephen joined in 1966.
At Armstrong, Ted worked with customers to make sure that the company’s gasket products fit their needs. The work drew on his love of engines, tinkering and joy in collaboration. Many customers became lifelong friends. His sales territory included New England (and eventually the South), which gave him the opportunity to travel and see family and friends frequently. He claimed to never have had a bad day at work.
Ted was driven by his personal interests, love for friends and enthusiasm for meeting new people. He always leaned in and helped wherever and however he could. He collected antique cars, military vehicles and old boats. In the ’70s, he was a founder of the Military Vehicle Collectors Club, a national group of enthusiasts who Joan affectionately referred to as the “jeep nuts.” Later, on MDI, he tapped his maple trees and invited all to visit on Maine Maple Sunday — a class trip to the sugar house was a big hit for kids!
Ted retired in 1993 and he and Joan began their wonderful next adventure — building their home, Fragile Earth, in Mount Desert. Fragile Earth became the place for Ted and Joan to enjoy their many interests and friends, to welcome and share their love with family, and to simply putter on the Island that has always felt like home. His appreciation for MDI led to involvement in many civic activities, including service on the Mount Desert Harbor Committee. He and Joan were active with Friends of Acadia and enjoyed hiking and monthly lunches with the Footloose Friends.
After a few decades spent landlocked and raising family, Ted and Joan were able to get back on the water, first with their sailboat Constance and then powerboat Landfall. Both boats provided the jumping-off point for many family adventures.
Ted took great strength from his faith and involvement in the Episcopal Church. He felt a sense of stewardship for his church communities, and cherished the clergy and dear, dear friends that he and Joan made there. Ted served on the vestry at both Grace Church (Madison, N.J.) and St. Andrew & St. John (Southwest Harbor), and as senior warden at St. John.
To know Ted was to know that he always had a song, hymn or snippet of doggerel on his lips, and a constant word of enthusiasm and support for those around him. He was deeply appreciative for the many blessings in his life and all of the gifts he had been given. His refrain during the family pre-meal grace was to “keep us mindful of our many blessings, and to use those blessings to serve those less fortunate than ourselves.”
His most special blessing was Joan, with whom he celebrated 62 years of marriage on Aug. 13. She was his rock, and took incredible care of him, particularly over the past 18 months.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; his sister Nancy Courcy (Guy); daughter Sally Suhr (Scott); son Stephen (Jackie); and six wonderful grandchildren, who all carry GT (Grampa Ted) in the glint of their eyes, Abby Byrd (Ryan), Dylan Suhr, Anna Suhr and Ella, Owen and Wyatt Bromage. Ted was predeceased by his parents, Wilbur A. (1962) and Judith S. Bromage (1983).
The family wishes to extend its thanks to his skilled physicians and incredible caregivers at MDI Hospital, and for the support Ted and the family received from Mount Desert Nursing and Cahoon Care Associates, the Rev. Holly Hoffmann and St. John community, and from dear friends including Troy Tucker and the Friday morning breakfast group.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites gifts to be made in Ted’s honor to the MDI Community Sailing Center, P.O. Box 116, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679, to enable young people to get out on the water.
We welcome friends to share any stories or special memories of Ted with the family.
A service is being planned for later this fall.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.