Augusta, Maine — Paul Sweetser Best Jr., age 92, died on May 8, 2013, at the Maine Veteran's Home in Augusta, Maine, following a short illness.
Born July 25, 1920, in New Brunswick, N.J., he was the first child of Paul Sweetser Best Sr. and Elizabeth Knoke Best. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1951 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His college education was delayed by the Great Depression and his service in WWII.
Mr. Best enlisted in the Army in 1942 and was assigned to serve in the Signal Corps. He was transferred to Signal Intelligence and served in England with a small group of American GIs to work with the British in breaking the German Enigma Code. His group received a citation for breaking a portion of the German code which enabled the Allied forces to break through the German lines at St. Lo in July 1944. Those who worked on the Enigma kept the secret from family and friends until it was finally declassified in the mid-1970s. While at Rutgers, he received a commission as a Second Lt. in the Army Signal Corps Reserve. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1972.
Following graduation from college, he worked as an engineer for Mack Truck Corporation, and later for General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y., and Lynn, Mass. He was able to attend Boston College Law School through a generous company program while working at GE. He received his law degree in 1962. Following further service with GE, he opened his own law practice in Topsfield, Mass., and joined the law firm of Russell, Plummer and Rutherford.
Following his retirement, he and his wife Connie moved to Yarmouth and then to South Bristol, Maine. He led a full, interesting and active life. He volunteered for many years both in Massachusetts and Maine for the American Lung Association, and served on the National Board. An avid reader, he loved history and the Opera, and will be remembered for his beautiful bass singing voice. A music lover, he was a choir member and soloist at several churches throughout his life and with the Coastal Chorale and with the Lincoln Festival Chorus. An enthusiastic mountain climber, he completed the New England 4,000 footers at the age of 74 with his children.