HOULTON, Maine — A longtime community development director for the town who died in January was recognized at the Town Council meeting after receiving a state award for excellence in his work.
Charles J. Upton, the town’s community development director and grant writer for 23 years, died in January at age 64. He worked for the town from 1978 to 2001.
To honor Upton’s achievements, the state Department of Economic and Community Development offered its Governor’s Award, Lifetime Achievement in his memory.
During a brief ceremony Monday evening, Town Manager Doug Hazlett presented the award to Upton’s widow, Bonnie Upton.
“Charles [Upton] was very involved in economic development here and sprucing up the downtown,” said Hazlett. “He made Houlton a better place to live, work and visit.”
Upton oversaw the downtown revitalization project in the 1980s and was chosen Maine Community Developer of the Year in 1992.
He also worked for the Upper Valley Economic Development Council and as a grant writer for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. He was past president of the Maine Community Development Directors Association and past president of the Economic Development Council of Maine.
Councilor Walter Goodrich described Upton as “a joy to work with” and an individual who had unique ideas that he made reality.
“He cared about the town,” Goodrich said.
Councilor Nancy Ketch agreed, noting that Upton often worked behind the scenes and did not take credit for all that he helped accomplish.
“It is wonderful that he is being recognized at the state level,” she added, echoing the sentiments of others by saying she wished Upton was present for the accolade.