Howland – Joel D. Drew was born on March 22, 1949, in Island Falls, to Cyril M. Drew Jr. and Muriel M. (Massey) Drew, and to his older brother Errick Drew. He died peacefully at Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln on April 16, 2019. Joel lived a full life, and the life he wanted.
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He moved to Ft. Collins, Colorado in third grade, and loved the life there. He returned to Island Falls to start high school and graduated there in 1967. He joined United States Marine Corps right out of high school. He intended to join the Air Force, but the recruiter skipped the meeting. so he went across the hall to the Marines. He was proud to serve his country for four years, including a tour in Vietnam.
Joel had varied careers after leaving the Marines. He served 9 years as a Skowhegan Police Officer. He loved telling the story about the time he got called to the home of two elderly ladies who feared aliens in the attic. While he was up there checking, they heard noise and went up with a shotgun. He convinced them he wasn’t an alien, and he safely escaped.
He became a sales agent for Metropolitan Insurance, then worked seasonally for MDOT, maintaining roads for Baxter State Park from May to October each year. In the offseason, he found steady employment at a variety of places in the Millinocket area, from cook at McDonald’s to security guard at Ames, until he got full-time work at Maine DoT, maintaining the North Roads of Baxter State Park in summer, and plowing I-95 in winter. In Baxter State Park, he met his closest friend, Chip Burleigh, and they spent many weekday hours together at work camp in the Park. They entertained each other and company, including a hungry black bear who came into camp to share their salmon. Joel left Baxter when he was transferred to Enfield and retired in 2011, after 23 years of service.
In 1989, he met his soulmate and future wife, Babette Nesin. They spent 30 wonderful years together at their home in Howland. Forty years after leaving Colorado, he and Babette returned so that he could share fond memories with her.
Joel was always quietly helpful, and had a quick wit. He will be sadly missed and always loved by his wife, Babette, and her daughter and Joel’s very special friend, Renee Garceau. He will also be greatly missed by his Nesin family; Leslie, Peter, Barbara, Elizabeth, Noah, Joseph, Gert, and Iva—and all of their families, including many nieces and nephews.
Babette and Joel share a favorite Chinese Proverb; “Zhintu slept and dreamed he was a butterfly, or did the butterfly sleep and dream he was Zhintu?” Arrangements are by Lamson Funeral Home, Clay Chapel, Lincoln.