Longtime Penobscot County courthouse maintenance director, former lawmaker dies at 69

Mickey, a rescued border collie, gets his belly scratched  by his master, Tom Duffy, during an interview.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Mickey, a rescued border collie, gets his belly scratched by his master, Tom Duffy, during an interview. Buy Photo
Posted Aug. 05, 2014, at 8:11 p.m.
Tom Duffy holds his border collie, Mickey, in his arms in Newport District Court.
Alex Barber | BDN
Tom Duffy holds his border collie, Mickey, in his arms in Newport District Court. Buy Photo
Mickey, a rescued border collie, sits with his master, Tom Duffy, during an interview.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Mickey, a rescued border collie, sits with his master, Tom Duffy, during an interview. Buy Photo

OTIS, Maine — A longtime Penobscot County maintenance supervisor and former state representative for Bangor died Sunday at his home on Springy Pond after a period of declining health.

Thomas Allen “Tom” Duffy was 69 at the time of his death, according to his obituary.

A 1962 graduate of John Bapst High School, Duffy attended the University of Maine. He served nearly 30 years with the Air National Guard and was a state legislator for 10 years. He retired in December from the Penobscot County Courthouse, after having served about two decades as maintenance supervisor.

Duffy was known as an avid fisherman and a dog lover.

In recent years, Duffy rarely went far without his beloved canine companion, Mickey, the border collie he adopted and helped nurse back to health after it was badly beaten by its former owner.

On Tuesday, Duffy was remembered for his wit and his penny-pinching approach to keep the historic Penobscot County Courthouse in good working order.

County Administrator Bill Collins said Tuesday that Duffy’s background in construction served county taxpayers well, especially during the major renovations that took place after the state court system moved into its new digs, the Penobscot Judicial Center, in late 2009.

“It was very clear that Tom saved us a great deal of money,” he said.

“[County] Commissioner [Tom] Davis would use the word ‘cheap’ or ‘frugal’ to describe him,” Collins said. “When Tom and I disagreed about how something should be done, I could see a twinkle in his eye.”

“He was a great family friend and really a character,” said Penobscot County Commissioner Peter Baldacci, who counted Duffy as among his good friends. “He was the old time political person who was always ready to talk politics on the local level.”

Baldacci said Duffy was a fixture at Mama Baldacci’s, the family’s Italian eatery and political watering hole. He said Duffy would stop by the restaurant for coffee with his father, Robert Baldacci, every morning during the workweek.

Baldacci, too, remembered Duffy’s frugal ways.

“He could squeeze a dollar,” Baldacci said.

When Duffy was running for his third term in the state legislature, Baldacci said, he decided that, while his signs were getting thin, he didn’t want to buy new ones. Instead, he would rotate the 25 or 30 he had left, “making them look like 100.”

Visiting hours are set for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Kiley & Foley Funeral Service, 299 Union St., Bangor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ohio Street, Bangor. Committal and burial with military honors will be at Pine Grove Cemetery, Bangor. A reception will be held immediately afterward.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make memorial contributions to The Mickey Duffy Trust Fund for Animal Rescue, PO Box 295, Eddington, ME 04428.

 

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