ORLAND, Maine — There’s a saying from a Grange ritual, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” according to longtime resident Dave Davis.
“That’s what I think about Wayne Ames,” Davis said. “He was a good and faithful servant to the town of Orland.”
Ames, who served as selectman in Orland for 40 years, died on Thanksgiving at his home.
Raised in Marblehead, Mass., Ames spent most of his adult life in his adopted hometown, where he moved in 1966. He served as selectman for 25 years and stepped down in 1995 when his wife became ill. Ames was elected again in 1997 and continued to serve as selectman until his death.
Ames worked as a district supervisor for the Maine Department of Transportation and also was the third generation to run the family business Ames Blueberry Farm.
“He was totally dedicated to this town and to the well-being of the taxpayers here,” said Town Clerk Connie Brown. “Whatever he did, he made sure it was right for the taxpayers. People will never know of the countless hours he put in for the benefit of the townspeople.”
Fellow Selectman Ralph Gonzales said Ames was an extremely hard worker. He worked hard on his farm and he worked hard as a selectman, Gonzales said.
“There was a lot of laughter here when he was around,” he said.
Selectman Ed Rankin agreed.
“He liked to growl and grumble,” Rankin said. “He wanted you to think he was tough, but he wasn’t.”
Both selectmen stressed that while Ames was concerned about local property taxes, he wanted to see the town progress.
“He was concerned about the money,” Rankin said. “But if he thought a project warranted it, he would support it.”
Ames was said to be concerned about the new regional school unit and how it would affect Orland, and he worked hard during and after the creation of the district.
“He was an advocate for education and for his community,” said RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby. “He was a pleasure for me to work with. He was always a straightforward, open and honest man who really cared about his community.”
Ames also served on the board of the Bucksport Regional Health Center for more than two decades and was its president for much of that time.
“He’s been an ever-present, steady hand,” said Jack Corrigan, the health center’s executive director. “To me, he has been a friend, a cooperative supervisor and a mentor in many ways.”
While Ames was on the health center board, the facility was expanded three times, and plans are in the works for another project.
“He was a kind man and a friend to many people,” Corrigan added. “He’s influenced so many other people.”
Ames also had a passion for preserving the history of the town, according to Davis, a fellow Orland Historical Society member. And while preserving history, he also had an eye to the future.
“He was the one to always say, ‘Proceed with caution, but at least proceed,”’ Davis said.
Ames still had more than two years left on his term as selectman, and the two remaining town officials expect to meet Thursday to set a date — likely after the new year — for a special election to fill that seat.
The town office will be closed at 10:30 a.m. today to allow town officers to attend Ames’ funeral service set for 11:30 a.m. at the Franklin Street United