Obituaries

George Weir, Auto Talk columnist for Telegram

George B. Weir, who was a reporter and columnist for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram for a quarter-century, died on Oct. 17, 2013, at MidCoast Hospital in Brunswick. He held various writing jobs for the Guy Gannett newspapers from 1970 until his retirement in 1995, and became well known for his weekly Auto Talk column in the Telegram. He also wrote, news, editorials and music reviews.
See his obituary and a story about him in the Press Herald.

‘Sandy’ Polster; writer, editor at Maine dailies

Sandor M. “Sandy” Polster, 71, died on March 21, 2013, in his home in New York City from the effects of almost three years with gastric cancer.
In 1992, he moved from New York City to Maine, where he worked for two years as a columnist with the Bangor Daily News and for almost a year as editor of The Times Record of Brunswick. He also mentored the Bowdoin student newspaper, The Orient, for 12 years, and was a lecturer in political journalism at Colby College.
During the earlier part of his five-decade career in journalism, he covered City Hall for 25 years at the New York Post and later was an editor and writer for CBS News. He leaves his wife, Rea; a daughter, Rebekah; a grandson.

Gregory Brown; spent 42 years at Press Herald

Gregory Brown, a longtime distribution specialist at the Portland Press Herald and volunteer for the Scarborough Fire Department, died on Feb. 11, 2013, after suffering a stroke. He was 63.
Mr. Brown joined the Press Herald in 1971 as a mailroom inserter. He worked his way up the ranks to a utility worker, then a bench worker. At the time of his death, he was a distribution specialist, preparing newspapers for delivery.
He is survived by his former wife, Linda Brown of Scarborough, and their three children.
Read the obituary in the Press Herald.

Tim Crilley, Central Maine circulation director

Timothy James Crilley, 64, of South Portland died Oct. 19, 2012, of esophageal cancer.
Crilley worked in circulation in Maine, including the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram of Portland, and in California. He also was circulation director of the Central Maine Newspapers, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and the Kennebec Journal in Augusta. He retired from that position in 2009.He leaves his wife, Patricia; two children, Erin and Joshua; a stepdaughter, Tracy; a granddaughter; a sister.

Hall of Fame publisher Harry Foote dies at 96

Harry Foote, founder of the American Journal of Westbrook and a member of the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame, died on Aug. 13, 2012, at the age of 96.
Foote purchased the Westbrook American and the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Journal from Roger Snow in the fall of 1965 and merged the two papers. He published the first issue of the American Journal on Nov. 1, 1965.
He was publisher and editor of the American Journal for almost 40 years, guiding it to regional prominence and making it a part of the communities it covered. He sold the paper in 2002 to Current Publishing, which continued to list him as the American Journal’s editor emeritus.
In 1990, Foote was named the Maine Press Association’s Journalist of the Year, and in 1999 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Read the story in the American Journal.

Kenneth Bailey, 62, was Camden Herald editor

Kenneth E. Bailey, 62, of Hope died July 10, 2012, at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport after an extended battle with cancer.
Bailey was managing editor of The Camden Herald, and previously was the newspaper’s sports/outdoor editor. He was also managing editor with VillageSoup.com, and outdoor editor with other VillageSoup publications.
Bailey’s column, In the Field, was recognized by the Maine and New England Press associations.
Bailey leaves his wife, Sandy; his mother, Isabel; a son, K. Aaron; a daughter, Michelle; five grandchildren; a brother.

Publisher of Lincoln News dies at 46

Kevin Tenggren, editor and publisher of the Lincoln News, died unexpectedly of an undisclosed medical condition on June 17, 2012. He was 46.
Tenggren became publisher of the weekly paper after his mother, MPA Hall of Fame member Sheila Tenggren, died in 2005. He expanded the paper’s coverage area to the Katahdin Region and helped the News rebound from a fire that destroyed its building in 2009.
Read his obituary. Read the story in the Bangor Daily News.

Henry Gosselin, 83, former MPA president

Henry V. Gosselin, 83, of Harpswell, a former president of the Maine Press Association, died May 2, 2012, at Parkview Medical Adventist Hospital in Brunswick after an acute illness.
He gained a reputation as a crusading journalist as editor and co-owner of the Somerset Reporter of Skowhegan during the 1950s and 1960s. He was the first New Englander to be nominated for the national Ira K. Lovejoy Courage in Journalism award.
He was president of the MPA, and in 1968 he was appointed editor of Church World, Maine’s Roman Catholic weekly newspaper. Read the full obituary in the NENPA e-bulletin.

Betty Withee; was ‘the face of the Sentinel’

Betty Withee, who was a reporter and a columnist for the Morning Sentinel of Waterville for more than 35 years, died on March 25, 2012, at a nursing home in Bingham from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. She was 78.
Withee started working for the Morning Sentinel in 1953. She was a photographer, loved court news as a reporter, sold advertising, was a receptionist and, from the mid-1980s until she retired in 1995, wrote a weekly column for the newspaper, called Our Neighbors. “She was the face of the Sentinel,” said Darla Pickett a retired Morning Sentinel reporter. Read the story in the Sentinel.

MPA Hall of Famer ‘Sandy’ Brook

Alexander “Sandy” B. Brook, former owner of the York County Coast Star, died of a heart attack on Jan. 23, 2012, at his home in Damariscotta. He was 89.
Brook, who became a member of the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame in 2001, was the owner, editor and operator of the York County Coast Star for two decades, from 1957 until 1977, when he sold the newspaper. Read the story.

Mark Reilly, longtime newspaper printer

Mark Reilly of Waterville, a newspaper printer for much of his life, died Nov. 30, 2011, in Augusta of pancreatic and liver cancer. Reilly worked at newspapers in the Washington, D.C., metro area, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Maine.
He was a member of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park.
Reilly is survived by his siblings Adrian, Vladimir and Erika; his brother-in-law Harv; his cousins Irina and Tim; and his nephews Zane and Kyle. Read more …

Diane O’Connor, Lincoln County columnist

Diane Hilton O’Connor, who wrote the Bremen news column for the Lincoln County News from 1999 to 2003, died Nov. 24, 2011, after short illness with cancer.
O’Connor, who lived in Bremen, was a Colby College graduate and worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 21 years, including 12 years as press officer, and was deputy chief of the news division at the USDA’s Office of Public Affairs for seven years.
She and her husband, Leo, returned to Maine from Washington, D.C., in 1996. In addition to her husband she is survived by her sisters Maru Sue Weeks of Bremen and Cynthia Wass of Rockland and brother William Doane of Fort Meyers, Fla. Read more …

Marie S. Howard, award-winning reporter

Reporter Marie S. Howard, who wrote for several newspapers, died Nov. 18, 2011, at the age of 83.
Howard wrote for the Moosehead Messenger from 1999 to 2003, as well as the Central Maine Morning Sentinel and Eastern Gazette. She won several awards from the New England Press Association and Maine Press Association, including first place for coverage of the 2003 Braeburn Hotel fire in Guilford.
Survivors include her husband, Edwin, of Sangerville and four children.

Kalil “Kal” Ayoob, retired BDN city editor

Kalil Ayoob, 94, husband of the late Eleanor (Bradley) Ayoob, died June 19, 2010, at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia. He was born March 10, 1916, in Framingham, Mass., son of Assad and Sophie (Shakir) Ayoob. Ki was a graduate of Dartmouth College, Class of 1937, and was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. Ki was a well-known and well-respected employee of the Bangor Daily News, retiring as a city editor in 1990, after a 53-year career. He was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bangor. Surviving is one son, Randy Ayoob and his wife, Robin, of Elkins Park, Pa. He was grandfather to Michael and Marcie Amerstein; and great-grandfather to Emily and Jackson Amerstein. A graveside service was held on June 24 at Woodlawn Cemetery, Brewer, with the Rev. Canon Mary Ann Taylor, pastoral associate of St. John’s Episcopal Church, officiating. Those who wish to remember Ki in a special way may make gifts in his memory to Bangor Humane Society, 693B Mount Hope Ave., Bangor, ME 04401. A service of Brookings-Smith, Bangor.

“Gene” Townsend, Machias Valley Observer

Eugene M. “Gene” Townsend, the co-publisher of the Machias Valley News Observer, died at a Bangor hospital on Dec. 18, 2009. He was 89.
Gene Townsend was a lifelong resident of Calais and once worked as the sales manager for WQDY in his hometown.
Townsend and his friend, Jay Hinson, purchased the Machias Valley News Observer in 1967 and Townsend also worked as the advertising manager for the weekly for 42 years.
In 2006 their wives, Patricia Townsend and Karen Hinson became partners in the company.
In his early years, Townsend served in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the outbreak of World War II with tours of duty in England, North Africa and Italy.
While working as a B-17 engineer, his artistic talents were soon discovered and he was enlisted to put the names and art work, known as “nose art,” on many of his squadron aircraft. Several Web sites featuring much of his work have been created by military historians.
Townsend was a past president of the Calais Lions Club, a member of the Frontier Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Baileyville and a life member of Sherman Brothers American Legion Post No. 3 in Calais.
A celebration of his life was held on Dec. 22 at Calais United Methodist Church Condolences and memories may be shared at www.maysfuneralhome.com.

Doug Fletcher, 13-year Sun Journal employee

Doug Fletcher, 62, who worked at the Sun journal for the past 13 years, died of lung cancer on Sept. 1, 2009, at the home of his daughter and her family in Shrewsbury, Mass.
Fletcher started his newspaper career immediately after his 1966 graduation from Leominster High School. While working at the Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel in 1974, Robert F. Drinan – the first U.S. congressman calling for the impeachment of President Nixon based on the bombing of Cambodia – gave him a scoop regarding the upcoming House Judiciary Committee votes on the articles of impeachment. He later became the Sentinel’s assistant city editor.
He served six years as the youngest editor of the Gardner News from 1978 to 1984. He also worked at the Leominster Enterprise, the Haverhill Gazette, and the Middlesex News of Framingham, Mass. until he moved to Maine in 1986.
He soon became editor of the Houlton Pioneer Times and the Moosehead Messenger in Greenville before he found his home for 13 years at the Lewiston Sun Journal in positions from business and news writer to enterprise reporter to copy editor.
He was predeceased by his former wife, Evelyn (Ventresca, Fletcher) Moore, of Ashburnham, Mass., and his stepfather, Earle Boyns.