MANCHESTER -- William Henry "Bill" Ingham Jr., of Manchester, born Dec. 2, 1918, died May 19, 2013. A retired Augusta area businessman, developer and former proprietor of the Susse Chalet on Whitten Road, former owner of the Fairway Motor Lodge in Manchester as well as the Cobbossee Cottages in East Winthrop, Bill was a determined, resilient, hard working man, deeply admired and dearly loved.
Born in North Providence, R.I., and growing up through the Great Depression, he began his working life when he was a boy as a farmhand before and after school on Anderson's Dairy Farm. In his late teens, he met and married the love of his life, Nanna A. Anderson, who was to be his faithful companion until her death in 1988 in their 50th year of marriage. During World War II, he entered the Army Air Force and trained as a ball turret gunner for B-24 Bombers. After the war, he drove trucks for the Sun Oil Co. and then started his own business, Ingham's Sunoco Service Station in Centerdale, R.I., where he earned a reputation as an ace mechanic, the best to be found for miles around.
After 28 years serving the public at his service station, he and Nanna decided to become partners in the lodging business. They moved up to Maine, the state that had long been the favorite hunting getaway for Bill and his close friends, and built the Susse Chalet Motor Lodge in Augusta, which opened in 1972. Bill was the epitome of strength and will to all who knew him. A steamrolling powerhouse of a man, he would drop whatever he was doing to help his family and friends. He had a keen eye for right and wrong and spoke his mind, and he was also among the most jovial and extraordinarily generous people, always ready with a strong handshake or a meaningful hug. He enjoyed shooting the breeze with family and friends and telling a good story from the old days, giving tours of Lake Cobbossee on his party boat, skiing (his last run was at the age of 81), antique automobiles and a good practical joke. One of his greatest pleasures was working -- getting a job done. It was like oxygen to him.
Shortly after his 90th birthday, Bill fell and broke his neck. He also suffered several strokes in his later years, but Bill pressed on and was never one to complain. Right up until two days before he died at the age of 94, he could often be seen mowing the lawns of his daughter's properties, the Fairway Motor Lodge and Scandinavian Inn on U.S. Route 202 in Manchester. He was a man's man with great respect for the leadership of women, beginning with his mother whose heartening influence prevailed over him to the day he died. It was largely thanks to her immovable faith in Christ that he left this world in hope and personal trust in the mercy and grace of the Lord, affirming his faith while in relatively good health and a clear mind just a few hours prior to the aneurysm that finally sent him home. "Dad," "Bub-Bup," or just plain "Bill," he was "a worker" par excellence. Very well done. Very well done indeed.
He is survived by his children, son Ronald Ingham, and his wife, Janet Ingham; daughter Gail Leonard and her husband, Marty Leonard; daughter Sheila Axell and her husband, Kent Axell; and daughter Julie Ingham-Rogers and her husband, Alec Rogers. He is also survived by nine grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends. He was predeceased by his wife, Nanna Astrid Anderson Ingham; his daughter, Janice Astrid Ingham; his father and mother, William and Eva Ingham; and his four siblings, Claire "Inky" Ingham, Flavel "Fay" Harris, Merle Houghton and Clifford "Kiffy" Ingham.
A funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1, 2013 on the front lawn of the Fairway Motor Lodge, 1061 Western Ave., in Manchester, with burial and reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made toward world missions, payable to Fayette Baptist Church, 39 Baldwin Hill Road, Fayette, ME 04349, noted in memory of William H. Ingham Jr.
Published in Kennebec Journal on May 22, 2013