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John Brian "Mad John" Ingraham

August 4, 1943 ~ May 25, 2019 (age 75)


Worcester – John Brian “Mad John” Ingraham was born in Waterville, Maine on August 4, 1943, son of Merle and Evelyn Ingraham; his family moved to Worcester where he attended Worcester Public schools.  John’s summers were spent at the family camp in Maine; he was an avid hunter and fisherman; he was a certified Maine guide at an early age.  John moved backed to Waterville to finish high school; he was a goal keeper for hockey team and was a volunteer for the Waterville fire department.

John’s life was an odyssey.  When told he should write a book about his life he said no one would believe it; at different stages he was a: potato farmer, car racer, and mechanic (which he learned from his father), accomplished musician (his grandfather taught him banjo) who played a dozen musical instruments; he played in village coffee houses in the 60’s with many notable musicians of that period; he later befriended Jerry Garcia who stopped at John’s house on Button Street to jam; he played at the Newport Folk Festival where he one time jammed with Pete Seger in the parking lot.  John spoke several languages which he learned from the people (immigrants) who he worked with; he served as a liaison for a scientific research expedition in Iceland; he also worked as a commercial fisherman, and was written up as one of Maine’s last dory fisherman by Edward Rowe Stow in one of his books; he met Julia Child when she was looking for fresh fish at the dock; their conversation led to a lunch date then and another chance meeting and lunch at a book signing in Harvard Square.


John served honorably in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, where he was recruited into Special Forces.  John’s heroism earned him many medals; he suffered from the effects of agent orange for the rest of his life.

John later became chief engineer at Millbrook Cold Storage until it closed , then as an automechanic.

When his mother became ill, John took time off from work to care for her 24/7 until she died; shortly after that, John’s sister became ill and passed on the same day as John’s friend Tinker (Tom Bates); soon after John was diagnosed with prostate cancer; he worked at Bernardi’s Honda until the last day of his chemo; shortly after he beat the cancer.

Though his life seemed to go downhill, John never lost faith; he always believed “whoever calls on my name will be saved”.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday August 24, 2019 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm at the Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, 838 Main Street Worcester, MA.

Committal Services with Military Honors will be held at a later date in Pine Grove Cemetery in Waterville, Maine.

To share a memory or to offer condolences, a guestbook is available at

To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral section.


Calling Hours
August 24, 2019

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors
838 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610

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