John Wingert chairs the Great Pond Board of Selectmen. A retired Episcopal priest, he enjoys hunting and fishing and serves as president of the Down East Senior College. PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ

Selectman Chairman John Wingert: From the pulpit to the town office

John Wingert, who chairs the Great Pond Board of Selectmen, grew up in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, earned a bachelor’s degree in history and modern languages at Hamilton College in New York, and then graduated with a master of divinity degree from General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Ordained an Episcopal priest, Wingert ministered at two Maryland Episcopal churches from 1970 to 1977. After working for 25 years in information systems and telecommunications, he left that field as an ISP’s vice president of operations and “got back into the church full time.”

Wingert served as the interim minister at churches in Bangor and New York State. During his years in Bangor, he and his wife, Jacqueline, explored places to live in Maine after they retired.

“We both like living in the country,” Wingert said. On Labor Day weekend 2006, he drove to Great Pond and discovered a classic 19th-century structure described to him as “the last hotel in a series of hotels (accommodating log buyers) coming up from Ellsworth.”

“The views are due west,” Wingert said. “It’s beautiful all year long. You can see the river when the leaves are gone.”

The Wingerts settled into their new home after retiring. “We’re both very busy here,” said John, elected as selectman in 2015 and re-elected this year. Great Pond’s deputy town clerk, Jacqueline serves on the local school committee and volunteers as secretary for the Great Pond selectmen and the Ellsworth-based Down East Senior College; its president, John has taught several history-related courses at the college.

“I hunt and fish,” said John, an accomplished trap-and-skeet shooter. He enjoys bird hunting, and “I like to fish for bass … and trout, too.” Jacqueline enjoys baking and rug hooking, and the Wingerts like to travel.

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