AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. Everett McLeod Sr., a Republican lawmaker from Lee, died Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
McLeod, 68, was elected to four terms in the Maine House, representing a large, rural district that encompassed parts of Penobscot, Washington and Hancock counties. He also was heavily involved in his hometown, serving several terms as a selectman and school board member as well as a director-trustee of Lee Academy.
“He was a fantastic legislator, a great family man and a Christian man,” Rep. Jeffery Allen Gifford, a Lincoln Republican who knew McLeod for more than 50 years, said Tuesday. “He showed great leadership in whatever he did.”
Born in nearby East Winn, McLeod worked in industrial sales for more than 35 years. He also owned and operated a gas station in Lincoln and worked for Great Northern Paper Co., according to his obituary.
Attendees of the Springfield Fair would have heard McLeod’s voice as the longtime public announcer. An avid sportsman, McLeod most recently served on the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.
After winning re-election to the Maine House in November with 72 percent of the vote, McLeod was unable to travel to Augusta for the swearing-in ceremony because of his illness. So Gov. John Baldacci administered the oath of office at McLeod’s home.
Baldacci, who had known McLeod for 15 years, called his passing “a great loss.” The governor spoke with McLeod’s wife, Sarah, to express his condolences.
“He cared deeply for his family and his community and was a strong advocate for his constituents,” Baldacci said in a statement. “I enjoyed working with him to reopen the Lincoln mill and to make life better for the people he represented. Everett was a tireless advocate and will be greatly missed by his family, friends, commu-nity and by me personally.”
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement that she also will miss McLeod’s “great sense of humor, quick wit, and his kindness.” House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakfield, called McLeod “a fine public servant” with an unquestionable dedication to the state.
Maine law does not require a special election to fill the seat. But a special election would be held if any of the dozens of municipalities within District 11 sends a formal request to either Gov. John Baldacci or Gov.-elect Paul LePage.
Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state, said Republican and Democratic municipal committees then would hold joint caucuses to nominate candidates for the seat. Nonparty or independent candidates also could file to run.
Flynn said the special election — if requested — likely would be held in early 2011. The Legislature begins its work during the first week of January.
McLeod is survived by his wife, Sarah, a son, Everett Jr., a daughter, Aimee, three grandchildren and several siblings.
Visiting hours will be held for McLeod from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Clay Funeral Home in Lincoln. A memorial service will be held at the funeral home at 11 a.m. Friday.