Saturday, March 25, 2017

Oayma Joshua Colby Sr. (1906-1993)

Portrait from the Kennabec Daily Journal, March 25, 1941.

   Sporting a truly unique first name, one term Maine state representative Oayma J. Colby's life bears similarity to another Maine legislator profiled here, Bancroft Hussey Wallingford (1891-1975). In addition to serving in state government, both men were lifelong Maine natives who had long-term involvement in agriculture, with both making a specialty of orcharding. A graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in horticulture, Oayma Colby went on to work as an orchardist and for a time operated his own farm. Following his service in the legislature, he would be affiliated with the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, serving as the Superintendent of Highmoor Farm.
   The son of Joshua William Small Colby (1876-1940) and his wife, the former Mary Ann Davis (1876-1942), Oayma Joshua Colby was born in Maine on June 4, 1906. Little is known of his early life or schooling, excepting notice of his enrollment at the University of Maine in the late 1920s. A member of that school's Agriculture Club and Varsity Winter Sports Team, Colby graduated in the class of 1929 with his B.S. degree in Horticulture.
   After leaving the University of Maine Oayma Colby began a three-year stint as an orchardist with the W.S. Wyman farm in Winthrop, Maine. Colby married in Maine in November 1933 to Sylvia Morrissette (1910-1996). The couple was wed for nearly sixty years and their union would see the births of four children: Oayma Joshua Jr. (born 1934), Alden (birth-date unknown), Peter (1944-1973) and Maryann (1955-2015).

Colby's senior portrait from the University of Maine "Prism", 1929.

   Following the conclusion of his work at the W.S. Wyman farms Oayma Colby operated his own farm in Oxford County, and for several years engaged in orcharding and poultry raising. In 1936 he won election as one of Oxford County's representatives to the Maine state legislature and served during the 1937-39 session. Aside from his dates of service and the length of his term, nothing else could be located on Colby's time as a representative.
   At the conclusion of his legislative term Colby returned to farming, and for two years was employed at the Western Maine Sanatorium as its farm manager. His time there saw him oversee a vast farming complex, comprising
"A sixty cow dairy herd, eighty head of hogs, twenty acres of truck and field crops, and an orchard producing 2,000 bushels of apples."
   In March 1941 Oayma Colby was appointed as superintendent of the Highmoor Farm at Monmouth, Maine. This farm, part of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, is still in existence today, and during Colby's tenure comprised over 220 acres of land and upwards of 3,000 apple trees. Colby would resign from Highmoor Farm in 1943 and was succeeded in the superintendency by W. Damon Hoar.  

Oayma J. Colby (on left), at a 1950 Oxford County Farm Bureau meeting.

    After leaving Highmoor Farm Colby returned to Oxford County and in the mid-1940s served as the Vice-President of the Oxford County Farm Bureau. In November 1950 he was elected as the president of that organization (serving during the 1951 year) and was also a member of the Paris, Maine school committee
   A resident of Norway, Maine in the latter period of his life, Oayma J. Colby died in that town on June 7, 1993, three days after his 87th birthday. He was survived by his wife Sylvia, who, following her death in 1996, was interred alongside her husband at the Riverside Annex Cemetery in South Paris, Maine.

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