In Memoriam : Foster Leavitt, Jr.
Foster C Leavitt, Jr. - age: 84
(December 09, 1930 to October 12, 2015
On Saturday, October 17, 2015, the family will start the procession at Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main Street, Saco at where Mr. Leavitt will be taken by Mike Tremblay’s Antique Fire Truck to Laurel Hill Cemetery, Deering Park Section, for a 1:00 PM graveside service. Deacon Keith Jacques will officiate. Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral and Cremation Service, 365 Main St, Saco is in charge of the arrangements. For those wishing to post condolences please go to www.DCPate.com
The family would like to extend their gratitude to the Saco Fire Department’s EMT members for the generous help over the past year and the caregivers and staff at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House.
In lieu of flower, donations may be made in the memory of Foster to the Saco Fire Department, 211 North Street, Saco, ME 04072 or to the Dyer Library, 371 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072.
After a long and fruitful life, Foster C. Leavitt, Jr. 84 passed on October 12, 2015 at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, ME surrounded by his family. A life-long resident of York County, he was born to Foster C. Leavitt, Sr. and Elvie (Thomson) Leavitt on December 9, 1930 at Trull Hospital in Biddeford. Educated in Saco Schools, he graduated from Thornton Academy in 1949, where he played football and was a member of the TA Band. Upon graduation, along with serving in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, Foster began his career at Central Maine Power Company in the meter department. He worked for CMP for over forty years, retiring in 1992.
Foster had many talents and passions. During his younger years, he developed a love for hunting and fishing, handed down from his father, grandfather and uncles, which he passed on to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoyed many years of deer hunting and fishing with family and friends at the family’s camp on Granny Kent Pond in Shapleigh. He became a member of the Camp Ellis Rod and Gun Club during the 1950’s, helping to build their first clubhouse and was past president, He loved to tell the story of Maine’s famed Gannett Newspapers outdoor columnist Gene Letourneau’s visit to the club during their annual running deer shoot. Foster and his fellow members designed and built a wheeled vehicle with an up and down cam holding a cut-out of a buck. Letourneau was so impressed; he declared it the most realistic running deer he’d ever seen.
During the hot, dry October of 1947, Foster was one of the volunteers who were dismissed from school to help fight the forest fires ranging through the state. He went on to proudly serve his community for over 25 years in the Call Man Division of the Saco Fire Department rising to the rank of Captain. He was a veteran of many of the area’s big fires, including the Grafton Lumber Co., the Diamond Lumber/Hooper Street fire in Biddeford during the spring of 1963and the July 1969 fire in Old Orchard Beach which destroyed many of the amusement rides that Foster enjoyed as a child.
At the age of 9, Foster discovered his life-long love of music which attending a Gene Krupa show at the Casino Ballroom on the Pier in Old Orchard Beach. Taking drum lessons under the tutelage of Joe Verrier, Foster became so proficient that at the age of 14 he was asked to join Painchaud’s band. For many years as a member of the marching band and the local musicians union, he performed at weekly concerts during the summer months at Biddeford’s Memorial Field on May Street. The band also marched in parades through the twin cities during Memorial Day in May and Armistice/Veteran Day in November. During his time at high school, Foster became a drummer in the first marching band in the history of Thornton Academy. It was there that he began a life-long friendship with fellow jazz aficionado, bassist Hilton “Bud” Lamson. Foster went on to play in various jazz combos throughout the southern Maine and New Hampshire area, playing with local musicians Don Doane, Frank Manduca, Dick Conwell and, of course, Bud Lamson.
His favorite gig was with the Lee Russell Orchestra, a big band led by bandleader and trumpeter Johnny Trull. During the summer months throughout the 1950’s and early 1960’s, the orchestra could be heard ‘rockin the joint’ at the Palace Ballroom in Old Orchard Beach. One of Foster’s most memorable shows with Trull and the Big Band occurred during the early 1950’s when the orchestra shared the bill with the up and coming rhythm and blues combo Bill Haley and His Comets.
Foster enjoyed many activities with his family and friends including lobster and clambakes at his home, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on road trips through the western Maine mountains, and fly fishing in the famed Rangeley Lakes Region where he loved to tell his story of catching two native brook trout on one fly at the “Warden’s Pool” on the Kennebago River.
During his retirement years, Foster spent hours building wooden trolleys and rail cars which he gave to family members. Over the years he would integrate his models with intricate and elaborate dioramas of local street scenes from his childhood. He donated many of his dioramas to local historical societies in Sanford, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach. A large collection of his trolleys and dioramas reside at the Dyer Library in Saco. One of the last dioramas he built. “Flying Yankee at Old Orchard Beach” was donated to the Wardwell Retirement Complex in Saco.
Foster was predeceased by his parents and his first wife Irene (Leger) Leavitt.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Cynthia (Berry) Leavitt of Saco; a sister Karen Leavitt of Biddeford; daughters Lee-Ann Leavitt and companion George McKinnon of Salisbury, MA and Laine (Leavitt) Smith and husband Anthony of South Berwick; sons Michael Leavitt and wife Judy of Saco, Martin Leavitt of Waterboro, Laurence (Gus) Dunham and wife Debbie of Wells, and Christopher Leavitt and wife Selena of Buxton. Grandchildren Amanda (Leavitt) Todd and husband Jeremy, Natalie Leavitt, Corey and Lauren Dunham, Colby and Finley Leavitt and Ethan and Xander Brown; great grandchildren Brady and Madelyn Todd, and nephew Douglas Leavitt.