'Os' Bonsey, role model for town managers, dies at 88

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FALMOUTH — Osmond “Os” Bonsey, who was Falmouth’s first town manager and also managed town operations in Freeport and Yarmouth, died Sunday, Oct. 30, at the age of 88 at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor.

Bonsey, who began his career as an intern in 1951 for the town of Ellsworth, was a Surry native who took his first post as town manager in Corinth, where he worked from 1952-1953.

He moved on to Mars Hill, and served there until 1955, before becoming town manager in Freeport. He held that post until 1962, before moving to Falmouth, where he served as town manager for a decade.

After a five-year period, during which he was the executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments, Bonsey became Yarmouth town manager, a post he held from 1979-1991.

Bonsey also served as president of the Maine Municipal Association; the Maine Town, City and County Management Association, and the International City/Council Management Association. In 1983, while in Yarmouth, he was named the MTMA Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year and, in 1996, he received the ICMA Distinguished Service Award.

Yarmouth Town Manager Nat Tupper said he greatly admired Bonsey, and learned a lot from him. Tupper said he knew Bonsey before his tenure in town management, becaues Tupper went to college with Bonsey’s son.

“He’s somewhat of a hero figure for most of us in the Maine Town and City Management Association,” Tupper said. “In Yarmouth he was very much liked and admired. He did a fantastic job. A lot of days I still feel like I’m riding on his coattails.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Osmond “Os” Bonsey, 88, died Oct. 30 in Bangor. Bonsey was Falmouth’s first town manager and also the town manager of Freeport and Yarmouth.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.