Roice Everett Saunders

Roice Saunders, photographed for an interview with The Ellsworth American in 2006.

flagELLSWORTH — Roice Everett Saunders, 93, died unexpectedly March 15, 2016, at his home. He was born in Sedgwick, July 20, 1922, the son of Austin E. and Alta (Gray) Saunders.

Roice went to Gilman High School and then trade school in Somerville, Mass. He joined the 15th Air Force on March 7, 1944, and was shipped to Italy during WWII to be a top turret gunner aboard B-24 bombers, which he called “flying boxcars.” After 24 combat missions, he returned to Massachusetts in 1945. Roice married Helen Kendrick in 1943 and they moved back to Maine in 1947 to raise their family. They settled in Ellsworth and he worked for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. and went to work as a produce manager at the A&P store on Main Street. When it closed, he worked for the next nine years at the A&P in Machias until his retirement after 37 years.

Roice bought his first horse in town and rode her to their home on the Surry Road. He never felt that having a horse was a necessity, but they soon became his passion. He learned to shoe horses from Bill Carlisle. It wasn’t long before he asked Roice to work with him part time and when Bill retired Roice inherited his customers. He retired from horseshoeing in 2005 at the age of 82. He could tell a wicked story, loved to fish the Allagash and raised many fine hunting dogs. He lived an amazing life and was at peace with all of it at the time of his death. Roice was a member of the Lygonia Masonic Lodge No. 40, A.F. & A.M. of Ellsworth, various horse associations, and was a past member of the Maine Trapper’s Association.

Roice is survived by his special companion Edie Allen; two daughters, Judith Crowley and Joyce Mitchell and husband, Gary; four grandchildren, Tamara Crowley and partner Andrew Brown; Robin Hennigan and husband, Brian; Kevin Crowley and partner Carrie Reardon, and Tracy Crane; six great-grandchildren, Austin Crowley-Dunn, Declan Crowley, Alexis Hennigan, Brianna Crane, Marina Lint and Morganne Jeffries; two great-great-grandchildren, Tyler Parsons and Lydia Stanwood; many nieces and nephews; and one beloved horse, Mr. T. Roice was predeceased by his wife, Helen, in 1991 and by his brother, Ray Saunders.

Calling hours will be held 5-7 p.m., Friday, March 18, 2016, at Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St. Ellsworth, where a memorial service will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, March 19, 2016. A private graveside service will be held in Woodbine Cemetery in the spring.

Contributions in Roice’s memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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