Dear Family & Friends,
There are no words that could adequately convey my sadness to share with you all that Neal Pottle, the very heart of Family & Friends, left this world unexpectedly on Saturday, November 18th. Thank you all for loving him, and please know that you were incredibly important to him as festival-goers, Friday Night Jammers, and members of his community. I do not need to say what a tremendous loss this is for every last person who knew him.
Please see his obituary, as well as service information below.
With love and sadness,
Hallee & The Pottle family
Neal Richard Pottle, 78, of Palermo, Maine, passed away on Saturday, November 18, 2023, in Palermo.
Neal was born in Freedom, December 11, 1944, to Robert G. and Esther (Reed) Pottle. He was raised in North Palermo and graduated from Erskine Academy. Neal operated as an independent truck driver for 45 years and then drove for JC Stone for the last 12.
Neal shared his love of life with all who knew him. Infinitely curious, he was always investing his energy into new pursuits. He was a master of caveman physics and would jokingly say “I only understand about half of what I know.” This innate curiosity spread to sailing. For years he and Theresa moored their boat in Belfast Harbor and shared that experience with anyone who had an afternoon free. Neal spent significant time and energy growing potatoes and later growing and milling wheat—thousands of pounds of wheat. Neal was noted for his curiosity about generating electricity through hydro- and wind-power. At one point he attached a propeller to his 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit so he could calculate the RPMs and how much electricity could be generated. His grandchildren have fond memories of Penniless Creek where he made a small scale hydro-electric power generator, where, to their delight, he generated enough electricity to power a light bulb. He also loved music and shared that love with his wife, children, and grandchildren. This love of music prompted the Friday Night Jam, and eventually led to the Family and Friends Bluegrass Festival. With kids running around, music and goodwill everywhere, Neal was in his element.
Neal had a generous heart. He was giving of anything he had to everyone who crossed his path, full of a deep seated faith that encompassed his whole being. He was a long-time member of the Palermo Christian Church and served the congregation as an elder, a trustee, a Sunday School teacher, and a music leader. When the church needed a new steeple, Neal employed his North Palermo ingenuity and decided that his 5th and 6th Grade Sunday School class would build it. Neal and his class built, and raised the current steeple on the Palermo Christian Church.
Neal was the first call family members made if the car broke down, the pipes froze, or if you needed a house moved from Searsport to China. He knew how to fix your roof, plumb your house, and fix your battery. He was always ready with a story or joke. His loss will be keenly felt by all who knew him.
He was predeceased by his parents and brothers, Robert, Gerald, and Norman, and grandson Craig. He is survived by his wife Theresa and children, Ken and wife Michelle, Elaine and husband Derek, Cathy and partner John, Tim and partner Katie, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren, along with numerous “adopted” children and grandchildren.
Visiting Hours: December 8, 2:00-400 at Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Avenue, Belfast. Funeral: December 9, 11:00 a.m. at Palermo Christian Church, 322 Branch Mills Road, Palermo. The service will be live streamed. Check https://www.familyandfriendsbluegrass.com/ for streaming information.
In lieu of flowers donations can be given to the Palermo Volunteer Fire Department. Mail to Palermo Town Office, 45 North Palermo Road, Palermo, ME 04354, In Memory of Neal Pottle.
I hope that this finds you all in good health and spirits. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that 2023 has been a bit of a whirlwind! Since we last spoke, Neal and Theresa have welcomed another great-grandchild (that makes four so far!), and I must admit that as the one who bore her, I've been in Babyland neglecting my duties as festival director.
Excuses aside, it's true that we're more than a little behind in planning this year, and I want to thank you for being so patient. The festival is on for 2023! As usual, we will be gathering in the field on the third weekend of August, which falls on the 18th, 19th and 20th.
While there is still much up in the air as we catch up, here's what we do know!
Friday, August 18th:
Potluck at 6
Jam under the tent at 7
Contra dance under the tent at 8:30
Saturday, August 19th:
Music begins at 1 o'clock and ends around 9:15 (or whenever the last act is done)
Sunday, August 20th:
Music begins at 1 o'clock (reserved for gospel-leaning acts)
Thank you again for your patience and your kindness. We hope to see you soon!