Elford Austin Stover, Jr., 77: Legendary Maine athlete
BATH — Elford Austin Stover, Jr., 77, of Bath, died Oct. 5. Stover was born in Bath on July 30, 1935. He was a 12th-generation native of Maine, the son of Elford Austin Stover and Lillian Josephine Lee Stover, both of Bath.
Stover grew up in Bath and quickly distinguished himself as an athlete whose favorite sports were football, basketball and baseball. He began his long sports career in local programs, where his biggest fans were his parents and sister. At Morse High School, his childhood friends joined him on championship teams in baseball and football and tournament-bound basketball teams. He graduated from Morse in 1953 and completed a postgraduate year at Exeter Academy, where he was named the 1954 Athlete of the Year.
Stover attended Bowdoin College, where he again excelled in his three favorite sports. He was a standout football quarterback and safety for the Polar Bears, acquiring spots on the Sunday Telegram’s All-Maine Team. Stover was the first basketball player in Bowdoin history to break the career 1,000-point mark, and he starred at multiple positions on the Polar Bear diamond each baseball season. During his summers off from college, he played semi-pro baseball in Nova Scotia and Maine, including a stint with the Augusta Millionaires. In addition to being named to all-state rosters in all three sports, he received the Bangor Daily News’ Maine College Athlete of the Year Award in 1957.
Stover married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Florence Brown, on Dec. 27, 1958. He served in the U.S. Army for a brief period and then went to work for Mutual of New York. For several years he lived in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. He and his family moved back to Bath in the mid-1960s, and Stover went to work in industrial sales for Bath Iron Works, where he stayed for over 30 years. Upon retirement, he began a second career as a manufacturing consultant, developing and promoting small businesses in Maine.
In Bath, Stover was an active community member, serving on the town council, from 1964-1968 and as acting chairman for part of that time. He also served on the school board, and for two decades coached youth sports in Bath. In the 1970s, Stover became a basketball referee for high schools and colleges throughout the state. He chaired the Maine Basketball Officials Association, and mentored many referees who are grateful for his instruction and influence to this day.
Stover was a recipient of the Ollie Berg Award, and was induced into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, the Bowdoin Athletic Hall of Honor in 2005, and the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Stover was enormously proud of the Mainsail Award that he received in 2010 from the Morse High School Student Community Liaison Committee. The award honored his work with fellow members of the MHS class of 1953 to develop the Blue and White Classic Golf Tournament, an annual event that has raised over $320,000 for the school's scholarship fund. In 2011, Stover was named chairman emeritus of the tournament.
Stover is survived by his wife of 54 years, Marilyn Stover; his children Lee Stover, of Portland, Susan Garrett and husband, John, of Yarmouth, Tim Stover and wife, Kathleen, of Washington, D.C., Michael Stover, of Woolwich and Marianne Stover, of Biddeford; his grandchildren, Nathan and Meghan Stover, of Bath, and Jack, William and Andrew Garrett, of Yarmouth; and an extended family of in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service, with a reception to immediately follow, will be held at Bowdoin College's Kresge Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Morse High School Scholarship Fund, in care of Morse High School, Bath.
To share your thoughts and condolences with the family, please visit: desmondfuneralhomes.com. For more information on Stover’s athletic career, see: athletics.bowdoin.edu/information/history/hall/stover.