NEWBURGH - Walter Edward Musson, known as the Slate Man, 68, passed away on January 4, 2019. He was born on November 30, 1950, the son of the late Edward and Doris (Monaghan) Musson.
Walter grew up in Great Pond, Maine, a little town of 46 people, “over east of Bangor” as he used to say. He attended a one room school house at the end of his driveway. He was one of six children in the school and the only one in his class all the way through the eighth grade so his teacher had him read the encyclopedia. Over the years he read through W. He spent summers waterskiing, boating, and fishing on Loon Island, the family island. He received his driver’s license at 14 so he could drive his sisters and himself to Brewer High School where he excelled academically and athletically. He loved sports and played on the 1968 Class-A State Championship Brewer Football team that won with an 11-0 season. Walter was offered admission to the United States Naval Academy, MIT, and Yale.
Walter found passion in his trade, working outside doing slate roofing, copper work, and building and repairing chimneys. His family taught him to reuse and salvage. This desire was reinforced in 1972, when he and a friend worked at a salvage lumberyard in the Netherlands. He saw that they wasted nothing, that they had reclaimed the land and that every bit of building material mattered.
Returning to Maine, he saw that many buildings were being torn down. It was then he began to salvage some of the used slate, brick, doors, and other building materials. He took down buildings and houses for a fee and as his slate inventory built up he taught himself how to repair roofs with recycled slate originally from quarries in Monson and Brownville. Walter had great affection for the old slate houses, libraries, and churches of Bangor and neighboring towns. His wife considers his work on the turreted People’s United Bank located on Bangor’s Main Street as his masterpiece. Walter was on the board of directors for the Leonard’s Mills Logging Museum in Bradley, another effort to preserve a past way of life. Many people liked Walter’s work ethic, friendliness, generosity, and Santa-like beard.
Walter is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Ellen Pariser; sisters, Suzanne Irving and husband, Philip of Elgin, IL, Joanne Spencer of Belfast, ME, and Dianne Grant and husband, Robert of Ellsworth; and brother, Richard Musson of Clifton. He will be deeply missed by his six nieces and nephews. Walter was loved by the Pariser family as well. Special friends, Killian Pottle, and Skip Parent. He loved his cat, Rosie Piranha, and his bunnies, Tarzan and Jane.
The family invites relatives and friends to share in a memorial reception, 12-2 pm, Saturday, January 12, 2019 at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center Street, Bangor. Those who wish to remember Walter in a special way may make gifts in his memory to the Bangor Humane Society, 639 Mount Hope Avenue, Bangor, or the Maine Forest and Logging Museum, P.O. Box 104, Bradley, ME 04411. Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com