Glen B. Umphrey, 93
Shrewsbury - Glen B. Umphrey, of Shrewsbury, died at home with his family gathered by his side Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. He was 93. A famous quote of Abraham Lincoln reads, “Live a good life….for in the end it’s not the years in the life it’s the life in the years.” Glen was blessed with both.
He was born Dec. 3, 1919 in Washburn, Maine, a son of the late Fred Forrest Umphrey and Annie (Fox) Umphrey. Raised and educated in Washburn, he later set out on a cross country journey with a friend to California. They never made it to the West Coast for it was in Connecticut they stopped to find some temporary work at Pratt-Whitney Corporation. He later worked for Norton Company in Worcester before entering the United States Navy to serve his country during World War II.
Upon return from the war, he took employment with Eastern Climate Control Corporation as an engineer. He also took courses through the Armed Forces Institute and Worcester Junior College.
While working at Eastern Climate, he met Jane R. Shenkowski, and they later married Aug. 31, 1957 in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester.
Glen was sharp in mind and entrepreneurial in spirit. Post World War II, he felt that various parts of the country would need to be developed, in particular the South. In order for the South to thrive it was going to need air conditioning. In January 1963, he and his partner, the late Arthur “Bill” Gustafson, established Thermo Engineering Inc., which he ran until he transferred ownership to his late son, Mark, and his well-deserved retirement in 2000.
During his employment, though grandfathered and licensed as an engineer, he was offered a contract with a sizeable company in the South, but would be required to become nationally licensed. When offered to “fish or cut bait” he opted to “fish,” and earned licensure in three states and his company thrived.
Glen was not only active in mind, but also his body. He loved playing tennis and enjoyed rounds of the game with friends at Worcester Tennis Club, Holden Towers Tennis Club, and the Greendale Y in winters. He also had a passion for photography. Many of his photos are on the walls of many Worcester-area businesses, and he would periodically change them from company to company. This enabled him to catch up with old friends and swap a few stories.
He built a home on the Cape in 1955, known to many on Cape as “God’s Holy acre.” Their home in West Harwich was a gathering spot for family and friends throughout the year, especially during summer weekends and vacations. He loved his time at the beach and swimming in the ocean. Whether a full-on family beach day or one of his many daily trips to Grey Neck Beach by foot or on moped, he would swim every day from Memorial Day until it simply got a little too cold. He and his family would refer to his swims as a dip in the fountain of youth. Apparently it worked.
He also loved working in the yard and in their gardens with Jane. The reward later came with gardens in full blossom. With camera in hand, he captured their beauty. These pictures are now captured memories his family will forever cherish. He and Jane also travelled extensively throughout the world, capturing photographs all the while.
He enjoyed memberships in the Worcester Rotary Club, Greendale Men’s Club, and Friends of Shrewsbury, and professionally in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and in the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers, in which he served as president and The First Baptist Church in Worcester.
Glen joins in Heaven his son, Mark S. Umphrey; his son-in-law, Craig L. Eckerman; and his siblings, Arthur, Wilmot and Neil Umphrey.
In addition to his wife of 55 years, Jane, he leaves his children, Kim M. Eckerman of Sheridan, Wyoming, James G. Umphrey and his wife, Maureen, of Northborough, and Joy C. Borrello and her husband, Philip, of Tyngsboro; his daughter-in-law, Denise Umphrey of Lowell; his siblings, Pastor Robert “Dale” Umphrey and his wife, Mary, of Anchorage, Alaska, June Pohl of Sun City Center, Florida, and Lois Nickerson and her husband, Merle, of Dade City, Florida; his sister-in-law, Ann Umphrey of Millbury; his grandchildren, Dr. Mark S. Umphrey II, Elizabeth A. Umphrey, James L. Eckerman and his wife, Marie, Jason A. Eckerman of Seattle, Glen Nolan Eckerman of Reno, Nevada, James “Jay” Umphrey, Timothy L., Caitlin P., and Matthew M. Umphrey, Nicholas F. Borrello and Isabella J. Borrello; and nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will honor and remember Glen’s life by gathering for calling hours Thursday, Jan. 10, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., in Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors ~ The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center, and again Friday, Jan. 11 in The First Baptist Church, 111 Park Ave., Worcester, where his funeral service will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Rev. Thomas R. McKibbens will officiate. Burial with military honors will follow in Mountain View Cemetery.
Because of Glen’s wife’s involvement with the Shrewsbury Garden Club, he was interested and supportive of their many projects and was always there to offer his talents, muscles, or truck. His support was always appreciated by the club and he was looked upon as an “honorary member,” which pleased him greatly. He felt the garden club’s project to raise money to build a fragrant garden at Dean Park was a most worthy one which will enhance the beauty of the park and be available for all the town’s residents to enjoy. Honor his memory with a contribution to Shrewsbury Fragrant Garden, c/o The Shrewsbury Garden Club, P.O. Box 354, Shrewsbury 01545.
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