Frederick Jessup Kahrl was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 7, 1944; he passed away at the age of 76 on the evening of Saturday, July 11 at home in Woolwich, Maine surrounded by his family.
Plain Old Fred was an adventurer, raconteur, journalist, writer, farmer, builder, blaster, mariner, historian, film buff, and steadfast family man. He was deeply, insatiably curious about the world and its goings-on. He read voraciously, and would often introduce himself to people who knew things about which he was interested. Many of these acquaintances became lifelong friends. All of his friends and family could expect the occasional call out of the blue to pump them for information on whatever history or current event happened to be on his mind. He loved solving problems of all kinds, and a problem shared with him would immediately start the gears turning as he worked out a solution. Some of his solutions were memorable, like draining a suddenly-overflowing pond in Arrowsic by blowing its dike with a charge that his father-in-law heard in Bath. Sometimes they were funny, like the many times his Toyota Land Cruiser fell through the ice while plowing various skating ponds. Anyone who knew Fred knows that he never stopped telling stories about his adventures in Alaska, family history, local goings-on, his childhood shenanigans, or any other topic on his mind.
More than anything, he was proud of his children. He imparted his curiosity to them, and never missed an opportunity to tell others how proud he was of them.
Fred grew up in Boston and Elmira, New York, but as a child always felt that his true home was in Georgetown where his family spent each summer. His family valued education above most things, and while intelligent and creative, Fred wasn’t a great student. Active in extracurriculars including singing, theater, photography, and crew, he graduated both the popular valedictorian and second-to-last in his class from Noble and Greenough in Dedham, Mass. He attended Bates College for a few years while working summers as a ranch hand in Montana, but left before graduating to enlist in the US Coast Guard. He first served on Seguin Island Light Station, just a few miles from his family home, before being posted to Kodiak, Alaska as a Radio Navigator on HU-16 Albatross and C-130 Hercules aircraft. After his tour of duty he founded a small newspaper in Kodiak before returning to Maine to work as a staff reporter, then an editor on the State Desk at the Portland Press Herald. From there he went to the Bath Iron Works where he worked in Public Relations and Human Resources. At the Shipyard he organized launching events and coordinated the Apprentice program, which sought to preserve the deep skill and knowledge of the last World War II shipbuilders as they neared retirement. During that time, he also served as First Selectman for the Town of Arrowsic, and on the Board of Trustees for the Maine Community College System. After leaving the Shipyard in 1989, he started a small property management company, and soon diversified into custom lumber with a portable sawmill that he operated for 20 years. He loved traveling the state, meeting his customers, and participating in their unique projects. After an accident in 2001 limited his mobility he went back to the newspaper business as Editor of the Coastal Journal for several years.
Following "retirement", Fred capitalized on his love of helping people and supporting his community. He had a knack for finding folks who needed a little help, and projects needing a little help, and putting them together. His beloved Grace Church benefited from his many skills, and his many helpers, as did the town of Woolwich, and many family members and friends. He was a kind, caring, and generous person always.
Fred is survived by his wife Lynne Wolfe of Woolwich; his three children Heather Reedy of Waterloo, Montana, Allin Kahrl of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Andrew Kahrl of Bath, Maine; five grandchildren, a step-daughter, two step-grandchildren, two step-great grandchildren, 11 nieces and nephews, 18 great nieces and great nephews, and many more beloved family and friends.
A Celebration of Life for Fred will be held at 1 P.M. on Saturday July 24, 2021 at Grace Episcopal Church, Washington St., Bath. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Grace Episcopal Church, Friends of Seguin, or the Maine Maritime Museum.
Arrangements are by Daigle Funeral Home, 819 High Street, Bath, 04530. Condolences may be made online at www.Daiglefuneralhome.com.
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