NORRIDGEWOCK - Dwight Elbridge Newman, 85, died on Dec. 9, 2012, at Gosnell Hospice Home in Scarborough, surrounded by his family.
Dwight was born in Brunswick to Lawrence and Elsie (Briggs) Newman. He married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy June Pomeroy, on June 15, 1946. After they both graduated from Reading High School in Reading, Mass., in 1945, Dwight attended Essex Agricultural School.
Dwight started Newman's Flowers in 1946 in Reading, Mass., with several greenhouses. His hard work and passion for growing produced many beautiful flowers year-round. After he sold the greenhouses, he opened Newman's Florist Shop in downtown Reading. But his passion remained growing, so a few years later he purchased several greenhouses in Winchester, Mass., and began yet another business, Consolidated Greenhouses, specializing in growing tomatoes and several types of chrysanthemums and Easter lilies. Many years later he moved to Sudbury, Mass., and was the head-grower and manager for a geranium specialist.
Dwight started Christmas Tree Acres tree farm in 1965 in Norridgewock and moved up to manage the farm full time in 1975. In 1983, he and his wife, Nancy, expanded the Christmas tree business, creating a mail-order Christmas tree and wreath business. At the height of his career in the Christmas tree business, he had the largest tree farm in New England, wholesaling trees all along the East Coast, as well as managing two retail lots in Massachusetts with his son-in-law, Joe, and daughter, Heidi Chamberland, who were partners in the tree farm at the time.
Dwight retired in 1995, but that just meant he had more time to keep busy working -- whether out in the fields, helping with the building of the First Congregational Church in Norridgewock, or with family. Dwight enjoyed traveling with Nancy for 25 years to the Hawaiian island of Maui, where they could truly rest, renew and soak in the beauty of the flowers and the island while visiting with close friends. As much as Dwight loved the warmth of the Maui sunshine, he also loved the cold snow upon his face during a snowmobile run, often traveling more than 100 miles a day in earlier years. He was an ardent Patriots fan and storyteller. He loved hunting and the outdoors. He enjoyed growing flowers, reading, playing cribbage and spending time with his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He served as a selectman in Norridgewock, was president of the Maine Christmas Tree Association for many years, and was president of Massachusetts Tomato Growers and a master of DeMolay.
Dwight was predeceased by his beloved wife, Nancy, in 2007; his parents; and one brother, Elwood, who died in a plane crash at the age of 27. Dwight is survived by his three daughters and their families, Wendy and Richard Pree, of Ashfield, Mass.; the Revs. Heidi and Joseph Chamberland, of Stafford Springs, Conn., and formerly of Winthrop; and Cathy Newman, of Augusta. He is also survived by four grandchildren and their spouses and four great-grandchildren, Erin Mansur and his wife, Jen Shatney, of Fairlee, Vt., and their children, Owen, Eli and Isla; Nate and Alicia Flynn, of Hartford, Conn.; Megan and Morgan Shulda, of Ashfield, Mass.; and Brandon and Joelle Chamberland, of Brookline, Mass.
Visiting hours will be Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, River Road, Norridgewock, with visiting hours from 10 a.m. until time of service.
Gifts in his honor and memory may be made to the Gosnell Hospice Home, 11 Hunnewell Road, Scarborough, ME 04074; or First Congregational Church, 36 River Road, Norridgewock, ME 04957.
Online condolences may be left at www.smartandedwardsfh.com.