Don L. Friend, 77: Dedicated to vocational trades, educator

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BATH — Donald Leon Friend, 77,  died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Nov. 29 at Maine Medical Center.

He was born in Blue Hill on Nov. 8, 1936, the son of Ralph Leon and Alice Hale Friend. He graduated from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill in 1955 and then went on to graduate in 1960 from Gorham State Teachers College with a bachelor’s degree in education.

On June 21, 1958, he married his childhood sweetheart, Jane Louise Duffy, in South Blue Hill. He continued his studies in Oswego, N.Y. and eventually received his master’s degree in administration from the University of Southern Maine in 1966.

Friend taught woodworking and drafting at Morse High School from 1960 to 1969. In 1967, he was chosen to oversee construction of, and develop programs for, the Bath Regional Vocational Center. Then, from 1969 to 1989, he acted as director of the school, serving Bath and seven surrounding towns. He was very proud of the center, which gave high-school students the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in the trades.

In conjunction with the Bath Rotary Club, the students worked together to construct several houses in the Bath area, which were sold to raise funds for the future projects. Some of the construction included buildings for the Pine Tree Camp for children and adults with disabilities in Rome.

Following retirement in 1989, Friend formed D.L. Friend Construction and constructed homes for another decade. Over the course of 35 years, he built 37 homes, from Falmouth Foreside to Boothbay Harbor. Some of his houses were constructed during the summer school vacation, and Friend often said that he had to build a house each year in order to stay in education.

Later, from 1999 to 2012, Friend was employed by Dodge D. Morgan as steward of Snow Island in Harpswell.

He was active in the community and served on many boards, clubs and committees. Among these included the Bath Rotary Club, YMCA Building Committee, Phippsburg UCC Building Committee and Bath Regional Vocational School Building Committee. He was also a member of the Phippsburg Congregational Church and a cooperator of Bath Savings Institution.

He was also a talented craftsman who built furniture for his home and family and enjoyed carving decoys, copper sculpturing, gardening, traveling, fishing and hunting.

Friend is survived by his wife, Jane, of 55 years; son, Mark and wife Connie; daughter, Shelly Holmquist and husband Carl, of Gray; grandchildren, Andrew Friend and wife Danielle, of Woolwich, Carolyn Friend, Tyler and Caitlin Holmquist, of Gray; step-grandson, Alex Colby; cousin, Juanita Wood and husband Arthur, of Brooklin; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, Dec. 15,  at 1 p.m. at the Phippsburg Congregational Church, 10 Church Lane, Phippsburg. A reception will follow at Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington St., Bath.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Donald L. Friend Vocational Scholarship, Morse High School Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1030, Bath, ME 04530.

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