June 21, 2018
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2 of Blue Hill’s 6 town officials die unexpectedly over weekend

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

BLUE HILL, Maine — This small coastal town suffered a huge blow over the weekend after two town officials passed away unexpectedly in their homes.

Selectman Duan Gray and deputy town clerk Janet Torrey each passed away unexpectedly, according to Selectman Jim Schatz. Torrey, 51, died Saturday morning and Gray, 66, died Sunday morning.

Neither official had missed work or been ill, Schatz said, and cause of death in both cases is still unclear. Both leave children and large families behind.

“There’s basically six of us in Town Hall,” Schatz said. “Three selectmen and three full-time staff. This is like losing a third of our family.”

Gray was beginning his third term as a selectman, Schatz said. He was also a local pharmacist and member of the International Order of Odd Fellows who had been involved in high school athletics. Schatz said Gray was a single father of three, including one son who still lives at home.

Torrey had been a town employee for about seven years, Schatz said, and was integral in the town’s recent celebration for its 250th year. She leaves behind four daughters and several grandchildren, he said.

“The entire town is in mourning,” Schatz said Monday night. “Both Duane and Janet are well known. Their children grew up here and attended our schools. Their families are large and extended. It’s a terrible tragedy and it will be awhile before we get over it.”

Schatz said he and remaining Selectman John Bannister have yet to decide whether to hold a special election to fill Gray’s position or to wait until the annual town meeting next spring. He said Torrey’s and Gray’s families were still planning funeral services.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Janet Torrey died Saturday evening. She died Saturday morning.

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