Devens Dexter Arnett, 83, of Harpswell, passed away on Sept. 20 at Hill House Assisted Living in Bath. He was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Nov. 8, 1939, the son of Sarah Ann (Paul) and Rexford Arnett Sr.
He grew up on Cape Cod, moving to Eastford, Connecticut, in 1956, just in time for his senior year at Woodstock Academy. He went on to study marine engineering at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, graduating in 1963.
Many have heard it said that he graduated second in his class academically and first in his class with demerits. Somewhere during his college years he did some stunt driving for the Ford Motor Co. (non-sanctioned), 21 fence posts and a stone wall to his credit (although the stone wall is contested).
In May 1964 he married the love of his life, Beverly (Child) Arnett. They spent the next 59 years by each other’s side.
DA’s first job was at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. He took a break from Electric Boat to teach for four years at technical schools, moonlighting as a car salesman during the summers before returning to Electric Boat.
In 1977, he accepted a position at Bath Iron Works and moved the family to Maine. Devens retired from BIW in 1995, moving to Virginia Beach to work for CDI Marine, followed by a move to New Orleans. While in NOLA he worked for Avondale Shipyard.
Devens and Beverly retired in August of 2005 and returned to Maine. With a daughter in Maine and two sons in Idaho, they made many cross-country trips, eventually buying a second home in Idaho where they created wonderful memories.
A highlight of Dev’s retirement was a cross-country bicycle trip he made with his close high school friend, Bruce Hansen. In June 2006, they left Seaside, Oregon, and rode bikes to Potts Point in Harpswell, finishing the ride in just 60 days.
Devens will be remembered for many things, not the least of which were his work ethic, sense of humor, intellect, and the love he showed his family and friends. Those who knew him will recall the twinkle in his eyes and his natural charm, both of which may be attributed to his Irish heritage. There is no doubt that the luck of the Irish followed him all his life. Lastly, many will remember his positive “can-do” attitude. He was usually sure he could do things cheaper and better himself. More often than not he was correct, building beautiful furniture, houses, toys, and, of course, the dock.
Devens was well traveled, visiting Australia and numerous countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Beverly often accompanied him on these trips, and the two spent many years traveling around the U.S. in their fifth-wheel camper.
Devens is survived by his wife, Beverly; three children, Steve (Heather), of Emmett, Idaho, Rex, of Weiser, Idaho, and Danielle (Aaron) Keller, of Brunswick; and his siblings, Rexford Jr., Bruce, and Jane. He was the proud grandfather to five grandchildren: Camden and Griffin Arnett, Banzer Arnett, and Max and Oliver Keller.
The family wishes to thank all of the wonderful staff at Hill House for their special care.
A memorial service will be held at East Woodstock Congregational Church in Woodstock, Connecticut, at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21. A celebration of life in Maine will be held in the spring.
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared at Stetson’s Funeral Home (stetsonsfuneralhome.com).