AUGUSTA - Master Sgt. Paul Lamar Connatser, U.S. Army retired, 86, of Augusta, died Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at the Togus Springs palliative care, VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus with his "Sweet Lady" by his side. Prior to Togus Springs, Paul had been a resident of Patriot Place in the same medical center for four years. He was born in Tampa, Fla., on March 18, 1927, the son of John and Eunice Johnson Connatser.
Paul was educated in Tampa schools. His first job as a teenager was for Western Union, delivering messages on his bicycle. He served six years in the Navy and was in the Philippines during the end of World War II.
Paul then joined the Air Force, transferring six months later into the Army as a recruiting officer. He served in Korea from 1969-1970 and spent 18 months in Vietnam. He retired from the Army as a master sergeant in 1973.
Paul worked for Furbush Chevrolet in Waterville in the finance and insurance department and later was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service from 1979 to 1989. For 16 years Paul volunteered at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Togus, logging in more than 10,000 hours.
Paul was active in the Waterville Players, Theater at Monmouth and with Hallowell's Gaslight Theater with roles in "The Mousetrap," "All My Sons," "Twelfth Night," "James and the Giant Peach," "The Real Inspector Hound" and "See How They run." His last performance was "Catch Me If You Can" as Father Kelleher.
He was an avid reader, always desiring to learn. He enjoyed watching television, especially Discovery and History channels, nature programs and British comedy.
Paul loved every kind of music - he played the guitar and harmonica; He wrote poetry. He was a listener not a talker. Paul was generous, compassionate, kind and gentle mannered.
He was predeceased by his parents; his daughter, Catherine Ann Connatser (Nov. 30, 1983); and his brothers, Lawrence, John and William.
He is survived by his longtime companion and soul mate, Judith Wingate, of Augusta; daughters Paula McPherson, of Farmington, and Tina Couturier, of Waterville; grandchildren Mathew, Lauren, Emily, Erin, Elizabeth and Christopher; great-grandchildren Nora, Ethan, Avery, Kyedn, Elijah and Reina; sister Catherine "Katy" Keene and husband Perry, of Florida; sister-in-law Betty Jo Connatser, of Florida; and friend Carmen, who he always referred to as "Mrs. Murphy."
With gratitude Judith wishes to thank the staff at Patriots Place and Togus Springs for the excellent care Paul received.
Visiting hours will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, from at Staples Funeral Home, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner, with military honors following the visitation at noon time at the chapel in the new Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, Mount Vernon Road in Augusta. Donations may be made in his memory to the Augusta Food Bank, c/o St. Mark's, 9 Summer St., Augusta, ME 04330.