The gates of Heaven opened up on January 20, 2018 and welcomed USN Lt. Cmdr (ret) David Roland Phaneuf, age 82, from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. He died very peacefully at Down East Community Hospital in Machias, Maine with his loving wife of 60 years and cherished daughter by his side. He was born in Fitchburg, MA September 4, 1935 to Clarence & Lauretta (Hamel) Phaneuf. He graduated from Fitchburg High School in 1953 and entered the US Navy in March 1954 at Bainbridge, MD and then attended and graduated from Communications Technician school in Imperial Beach, CA. His Naval tours of duty that followed were in Guam/Mariana Islands; the Philippines; NSGA Winter Harbor (where he met Neta, the love of his life); Kami Saya Japan; NCS Guam (where he was commissioned Ensign and spent 6 weeks attending Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, RI); NSA Ft. Meade, MD; RAF Edzell, Scotland; US Naval Headquarters in Washington, DC and finally, before retiring after 21 years in the US Navy, he was re-stationed at NSA Ft. Meade, MD. At the time of his retirement in June 1975, he moved his family back to Gouldsboro, ME. They lived in their home for 42 years before David was relocated to the Maine Vets Home in Machias due to his condition with Alzheimer’s. When Neta was admitted to East Point Assisted Living Center in Machias, he moved over to her facility so they were together once again.
During his time in the US Navy, David had been working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Administration and when he moved back to Maine, he finished his last two years of college at the University of Maine in Machias where he graduated with honors in 1977 and then received his Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Maine at Orono in 1979. He was 8th grade teacher at Lamoine Consolidated School starting in September 1977, half time principal/eighth grade teacher for one year and then became full time principal in September 1979 until his retirement in June 1995.
In August of 1957, he met his best friend and soul mate, LaNeta Rice of Birch Harbor, ME and they were married in December 1957. Along with the Naval career moves, Dave and Neta continued to travel the globe after his retirement from the US Navy & Lamoine School. They returned many times to visit very dear friends in Scotland and also were able to visit the Orkney & Hebrides Islands, England, Ireland & Wales. They also were lucky enough to travel to Australia & New Zealand, Puerto Rico, many Canadian Provinces, and Alaska.