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The Rev. Harry Earl Trask, Jr.
ELLSWORTH — Harry E. Trask, Jr., was born in Wilton July 11, 1917, during the middle of World War I, a fact that prompted his first-grade teacher to ask if it had been noisy then. His father was Harry E. Trask, Sr., and his mother was Myrtle (Yerxa) Trask. After graduating from Wilton Academy, he attended Farmington Normal School before transferring to the University of Maine, Orono, where he majored in the education of mathematics.
Shortly after graduating, he was drafted for a year, which turned into a longer stint once the United States entered the war. Trained initially as a medic, he volunteered as an aviation cadet after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and eventually was commissioned as an officer in the Army Air Corps and served as a navigator on a B-29. He was stationed in the China-Burma-India theater and flew 35 combat missions as well as a number of transportation missions over the Himalayas (The Hump). He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals as well as numerous unit citations and theater awards.
During the war he married Claralyn Preble, and their marriage lasted for 62 years until her death in 2005. They had four children: Rebecca Gagne, Timothy Trask, Joanna Clark and Jason Trask. In addition to their children, they left 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Everett.
After the war, Mr. Trask taught school in Waterville. He earned a graduate degree at Teacher's College, Columbia University in the City of New York. He also graduated from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, with a divinity degree. He pastored five Churches of the Nazarene: Union, Haverhill, MA, Dixfield, Yarmouth and Lincoln. He retired in South Paris, where he lived until he was 92, when he moved in with his daughter Joanna and her husband, Rev. Reginald Clark, of Franklin.
In addition to teaching and preaching, he engaged in a number of other pursuits. He owned and piloted a small plane and took many of his friends and family members on thrilling rides over scenic Maine. He was an avid lifelong runner who participated in the Boston Marathon twice in the 1960s. He also ran in the Portland Boys Club race over 30 times and accumulated a wall full of running trophies from various New England events. He competed in American Masters meets occasionally and won at least one medal for a 400 meter dash when he was over 80 years old. One of his favorite places was Baxter State Park, and he climbed Mt. Katahdin many times throughout his life, including a day-long hike to Chimney Pond, up the Cathedral trail, across the Knife Edge, and down the Helon Taylor trail when he was 80 years old. At the end of that 14-hour workout, Mr. Trask announced, "That was the last time." And it was.
Mr. Trask was an avid storyteller and was fond of regaling his family and anyone else within hearing of his adventures and other stories of interest. He wrote two books, one of which was published in 2004: "Harry's War: A Memoir by a Navigator on a B-29 in the Pacific Theater." His second book, an account of his life and other adventures, will be published soon if he has his way.
He died in Ellsworth on January 10, 2012, after leading a full life of more than 94 years, all of which he enjoyed immensely. It would pain him to have anyone mourn his passing.
Calling hours will be held at Chandler Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, 45 Main Street, South Paris, on Saturday, January 14, from 3 to 5 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at the Ellsworth Church of the Nazarene, 445 High Street in Ellsworth, on Saturday, June 2, at 1 p.m.