Charles Stick E. Stickney Jr.

June 27, 1922December 3, 2011

Charles “Stick” Stickney, 89

Yarmouth - Charles E. “Stick” Stickney, Jr., 89, died on December 3, 2011, following a fall while hanging holiday garlands over the front door of Cutter House, the home he loved. He died as he lived, active to the end.

Stick was a man of intense energy and many passions. He was passionate about work, and giving back to the community. He was devoted to Anita, his loving wife of 63 years, and to his children and grandchildren. His boundless energy gave credence to the catch-phrase among many of his octogenarian friends that “80 is the new 60.”

One of eight children, Stick grew up in Portland. He graduated from Deering High School in 1940, and was part of University of Maine’s Class of 1944, where he majored in mechanical engineering. He interrupted his education when he joined the Navy in 1943 and became a naval aviator flying torpedo bombers, firmly cementing his lifelong love of both the Navy and of being airborne. After leaving the Navy in 1945, he ultimately graduated in 1946.

In 1948, Stick married Anita Cooper, with whom he had 4 children. In 1951, he joined the Naval Reserves, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before separating finally from the Navy in 1956. That year, he bought the Deering Ice Cream Corporation, which had been owned by his father when he was growing up. The company became another of his passions, as was ice cream, and he routinely worked six days a week until he retired in1989. He took pride in maintaining the ice cream’s high quality, and in expanding the company, working side by side with his wife Anita, to include the Deering Ice Cream Shops, which at their height had over 20 locations in three states and nearly 500 employees.

Stick never did anything halfway, whether vocation or avocation. He believed in giving back to the community and did so through volunteering and philanthropy. Among many other contributions, he was instrumental in the founding of the Maine Chapter of the Navy League, and was practically legendary for putting on clambakes for the Blue Angels and hundreds of guests every time they came to Maine for an air show, most recently, this past summer. Upon his retirement, he became active in SCORE, the Service Corps for Retired Executives, and in the IESC International Executive Service Corps. With the latter group, he travelled for weeks at a time to advise ice cream companies in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and China, broadening his view of the world at the same time that he assisted businesses to grow. For several years he was on the Board of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He was a staunch supporter of University of Maine, particularly the College of Engineering, and was active with U. Maine’s Development Council. His love of being on the water led him to become a volunteer docent at the Maine Maritime Museum. He was devoted to Portland, and expressed that through philanthropic support of many Portland institutions that mattered to him, including the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, and the recent reconstruction of the fountain at Deering Oaks Park.

Cutter House, the 1730 colonial house where he and Anita have lived since 1950, was another passion. He was an avid gardener, putting in his garden even while still using a cane following breaking his hip last year while skiing. Working on the house was a constant in his life and he painted it himself right up until this year. He kept bees for nearly 60 years, and still snowblowed the walkways himself. He was never too old to acquire new interests. When the JJ Nissen plant in Portland closed, he decided to take up bread baking, and bought 40 industrial bread pans. He got an industrial mixer, made a proofing box for dough to hold 40 pans, and had marathon baking sessions, taxing his home’s two ovens by making as many as 160 loaves, 40 at a stretch, to donate to his church’s annual Christmas Fair.

Perhaps Stick’s longest enduring passion was skiing, which he fed in his youth by becoming a bellhop in North Conway so that he could ski at Mount Cranmore. Skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine was one of his favorite memories. He put all of his children on skis by the time they were three, and for the past 30 years, he and Anita went with their dear friends of “The Washingtonians” ski group to Europe to ski every January, until he broke his hip skiing in France in January 2010 at age 87. He was a volunteer guide skier for Maine Handicap Skiing since that program’s inception, until breaking his hip. Aviation was his other passion which he indulged by flying well into his 70’s. His favorite plane was a Stearman open cockpit biplane, which he flew for 20 years, until he donated it to the Owls Head Transportation Museum, where it still resides.

Stick also never stopped learning. In the 1990s, a deepening interest in theology inspired him to take courses at Bangor Theological Seminary’s Portland Campus, leading to him eventually joining the Seminary’s Board of Directors. He also became a regular at “Senior College” at the Osher Lifelong Learning Center at USM.

But his friendships and his family were Stick’s greatest passions. He kept in touch with friends from college, from the Navy, from “the Group” – half a dozen couples from various ice cream companies whom he met while on the Board of the International Ice Cream Manufacturers Association, who became great friends and would gather twice a year without fail for decades, from the “Washingtonian’s” ski group, and from their neighborhood. Just last week, Stick started addressing invitations to the annual Holiday Open House at Cutter House, which traditionally as many as 70 people would attend. And he delighted in watching his grandchildren growing into adulthood and in the family patriarch role at holidays and family gatherings.

In all, Stick was a man of drive and passion, and also of contradictions. On the one hand, his frugal Yankee character meant that he had clothes for working around the house that were practically threadbare (“Why should I throw them away? They’re still wearable!”). On the other hand, if convinced of the merits of a cause or a civic project, he thought nothing of pulling out his checkbook to help make it happen. He was a “serious businessman” but delighted in doing risky aeronautic maneuvers in his biplane, even occasionally donning a scarf that would fly out behind him just to vamp. He was adamant about teaching his children about hard work and perseverance, but he was nonetheless able to convey the importance of having other passions. Seeing Stick in the pilot’s seat of a plane, or gliding gracefully down a ski slope, made it clear that even this protestant Yankee with a relentless work ethic could let go, and just experience pure joy.

Stick is survived by his wife Anita, his sisters Virginia “Ginny” Cooper of Wiscasset, ME and Hortence “Horty” Warren of New Providence, N.J., his brother Frederick Stickney and his wife Lorraine of Standish, ME, his children, Andy Stickney and his wife Annie McBratney of Cape Elizabeth, ME, his daughters Anne Stickney and her husband Nick Waugh of Peru, ME, Alice Stickney of Ester, AK, Beth Stickney and her husband Ken Kunin of Rome, Italy, and seven grandchildren and their families. He was predeceased by his father, Charles E. Stickney and mother Medora Haskell, his brother Henry Stickney, his sisters Olivia McCrum, Margery Woodbury, Patricia Davis, and his grandson, Peter Stickney.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday December 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral, 143 State Street, Portland, ME. A reception will be held after the service in the parish hall. Burial will be in spring 2012 in Riverside Cemetery in Yarmouth. Please visit to view a video collage of Stick’s life and to share your condolences, memories and tributes with his family.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in Stick’s memory to: The Center for Grieving Children, PO Box 1438, Portland, ME 04104 or Maine Handicapped Skiing, 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, ME 04261



  • Memorial Service Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Reception Tuesday, December 13, 2011


  • Burial

Charles Stick E. Stickney Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Chip Perrault

December 29, 2011

I had the good fortune of meeting a great number of people in my time with the Blue Angels. Many people on that list were good hosts and gracious in their friendships when we toured. At the absolute top of that list was Charlie Stickney--for his unselfish hospitality and generous extension of New England friendship. More importantly, was his sincerity when he gave me my own tour of his beautiful home and property and shared his philosophy of life as we 'tended the fire' for the lobster bake. Your family was fortunate to have such a person full time. Anita and Anne, and all the family, my condolences. We all lost a great man. Chip Perrault (Blue Angels '79--'81) Issaquah, WA.

December 17, 2011

Stick was a nice fellow. I remember when we did the lobster bake together and when he let me drive my remote control speed boat in his pool.

Jake Kringel

December 17, 2011

Stick took us under his wing the minute we met him at St. Bart's! He introduced us to Maine Handicapped Skiing and we carpooled together for almost 14 years! He also invited us to join his beloved "Washingtonians", and we skied all over Europe. He was doing "black diamonds" right to the end of his skiing - and was still thinking of going back and teaching at MHS!! What a man!! We love him and will miss him so..........
Lu and Van Tingley

Dougie Gould

December 14, 2011

Never met your Grandpa Charles but you must be a proud grandchild Eben!
He sounds like a true gent and a man who lived life to the full. My thoughts are with you and your family dude.

Dougie Gould (Scotland)

December 14, 2011

Never met your Grandpa Charles but you must be a proud grandchild Eben!
He sounds like a true gent and a man who lived life to the full. My thoughts are with you and your family dude.

Dougie Gould (Scotland)

December 14, 2011

Stick and I were Navy cadets together in world `war II

William Stockwell

December 14, 2011

Stick was my Hero.

In 1997, our first trip with the Washingtonians to Zurs, on the last day We were skiing in a group of 12 Washingtonians in St. Anton.. Stick said he was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel. I told him I would help him get there. We asked directions and missed our trail. We ended up in a distant village after a thrilling run on a goatspath through the forest.

We tromped across a field to get to the road and I slipped on the ice, injuring my knee.

Stick flagged down a taxi, hoised me up, accompanied me to the medical clinic and stayed with me till we returned to the Hotel. What a man, generous
and kind.

We worked together on the Senior College Capital Campaign and he introduced me to many persons of influence in his huge network that produced numerous opportunities for my fundraising consulting practice.

He was always interested in what I was doing and members of my family ( All Washingtonians ) He had a particularly strong impact on my son Carl, especially after my Dad passed - Carl looked up to Stick as a grandfather figure and someone to talk with.

We are so glad that he and Van Tingley started the fundraising team of PERAZONE POWER at Maine Handicapped Skiing for the annual Ski-a-thon.
My wife Sara is now the team captain and we shall miss his support.

We have all gained from knowing Stick.

Lisa Petersen Jones

December 13, 2011

Dear Andy,
I started out working with Phyllis at
the main office back in 1978. Then promoted to "upstairs" working for you amd your parents. It was my first real
job and I always look back on those treasured memories as a small family
business. My thoughts are with you and Mrs. Stickney

December 13, 2011

As a friend and colleague of Beth's, I extend condolences to the whole family. "Stick" must have been a great father to have a daughter like Beth.
- Meryl Troop

Vince Furey

December 12, 2011

Dear Anita,
The sad news of Charlie's tragic accident just caught up with me on the road, and I extend my deep sympathy for your loss.
Charlie and you were most welcoming to a newcomer to Maine and Yarmouth from the Philadelphia area in '88. As a fellow naval aviator, I remember sharing many war stories, some of them actually true, and will never forget the wonderful clambake events you both hosted to greet the Blue Angels and their crew on each of their air show visits to NAS Brunswick. That was real Maine hospitality.
I also warmly recall our many enjoyable business and social gatherings in connection with the University of New England.
Charlie was a true mentor and an expert on how things work in this state and beyond, and I consider myself fortunate to know both of you as caring members of our community and good friends. Charlie will be sorely missed.