Mr. Eldred loved being “out to sea” and traveling to unusual places. He took part in a number of special missions, including two Operation Deep Freeze ice-breaking missions to Antarctica aboard the USCGC Eastwind. During stops along the route at islands like Fiji, Tahiti, and New Zealand, he developed a lifelong love of the South Pacific. On a visit to Pitcairn Island, he met and chatted with a direct descendant of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian.
His Coast Guard service also brought him to Vietnam in 1970, aboard the USCGC Cook Inlet. The vessel and its crew provided close fire support for US and South Vietnamese ground troops and participated in US Navy operations to halt the flow of arms along the Vietnamese coast. Mr. Eldred also participated in humanitarian missions that provided medical care to local civilians. The crew’s last mission was to train South Vietnamese sailors to operate the ship’s systems before turning it over to the South Vietnamese Navy. He also traveled to Cuba, Peru, Pago Pago, Mangaia, Australia, Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Thailand during his years in the Coast Guard.
After his retirement in 1978, Mr. Eldred moved to Newport, ME, which he came to consider his home town. There he enjoyed his friends, his classic cars and motorcycles, his house on Lake Sebasticook, and exploring Maine’s back roads. Family and friends remember his dry sense of humor, his love of history and astronomy, and his interest in discussing life’s big questions over several cups of black coffee.
Mr. Eldred is survived by his son Michael Eldred and his wife Eithne, of Wilmington; daughter Christine Eldred and husband Jason Barney, of St. Albans; granddaughter Erin Eldred and husband Clint Colburn, of Lexington, KY; grandson Paul Eldred, of Lexington, KY; sister Judy Belisle and husband Neil, of Stamford; brother Allen Eldred and wife Valerie, of Franklin, NC; sister-in-law Joanne Eldred, of Staunton, VA; former spouse Kathryn Johnstone, of Bennington; and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Eldred was predeceased by his daughter Gail, his brother Dana and wife Frances, and his brother Larry.
At Mr. Eldred’s request, there will be no funeral service or calling hours. The family would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to the nurses and staff of the Vermont Veterans’ Home for their wonderful care of Mr. Eldred over the last three years. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Vermont Veterans’ Home Activity Fund.