Owen Johnston Garfield
Passed away on November 13, 2019
Owen Johnston Garfield, also known as John Garfield, age 84, of Yarmouth, passed away November 13 at his home. Mr. Garfield was born in 1935 in New York City, the first born child of Owen R. Garfield, an engineer with Bell Labs, and the former Harriet Johnston. He spent his childhood in Chatham, New Jersey, with summers on Bustins Island in Casco Bay. He was in the fourth generation of Garfields to visit Bustins, a place which remains a family respite today. It was on Bustins that he met his first wife, the former Sally (Sara) Hunziker, who also grew up spending summers on the island. As a teenager, Mr. Garfield worked in the island store where his duties included scooping ice cream cones. She later told their children that she knew he liked her because her ice cream cones were especially generously packed. Mr. Garfield graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in mathematics. He served in the army reserves as a medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He began a long career as an actuary at the Equitable in New York. In 1967, he moved to Philadelphia to work at the Insurance Company of North America which later became part of the Cigna Corporation. His work gave him the opportunity to travel, and he enjoyed visiting many European and Caribbean countries. He stayed in Philadelphia for twenty years, purchased a home in suburban Saint David’s, and raised three children. His career then took him to Connecticut, Delaware, and finally to Maine, where he had long hoped to settle year-round. He joined Duncanson and Holt in 1991 and later worked for Unum until his retirement in 1996. He and Sally built a house in Yarmouth and enjoyed weekend trips to their summer home on Bustins. She died in 1997, and in 2008, he married Deborah F. Hammond. Mr. Garfield’s hobbies included woodworking, bicycling, and listening to jazz. He once built a wooden slide for his children featuring a carving of the famous topology problem involving the seven bridges of Königsberg. His hopes were realized when two of his children earned degrees in mathematics; the third studied computer science. He was a voracious reader and enjoyed the chance to pilot his motorboat. For many years, he was the treasurer of the Bustins Island Village Corporation, and he devoted many hours to the island’s planning board. He is survived by his wife, Deborah F. Hammond, his children, David, of Cumberland, Maine, Peter (& Laura Sices), of Goleta, California, and Abigail (& Michael Sebert), of Plano, Texas, three grandchildren, sister-in-law Margaret Garfield of Ridgewood, New Jersey, brothers-in-law Walter Hunziker (& Norma Holmes) of Edgartown, Massachusetts and Arthur T. Hammond (& Cynthia) of Kingfield, Maine and Farmington, Maine, and numerous nephews and nieces. A memorial service is planned for summer 2020 on Bustins Island. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Merrill Memorial Library, 215 Main St, Yarmouth, ME 04096, or the public library in the donor's community.