EAGLE LAKE, Maine — Daryl Gordon was one of the nicest men you could meet, two retired wardens recalled Friday.
‘’It hurts, it’s heartfelt,’’ former Warden Gary Pelletier of Cross Lake said of Gordon’s death. ‘’It’s a shock.’’
Pelletier, who retired in 1996, said Gordon was a quiet man who never wanted attention, he just wanted to do his job.
‘’He held a low profile,’’ Pelletier said Friday. ‘’He wasn’t disliked by anybody; he was low-keyed and easy to get along with.”
He said Gordon was always congenial and he was a hard worker.
‘’We got along good and that’s all that matters in law enforcement. We need one another to work together.’’
Those same attributes were recalled by Gary Dumond, retired warden pilot of Eagle Lake.
“I’ve known him for 25 years,” Dumond said Friday afternoon. “He was my neighbor at the lake and I filled in for him just a couple of weeks ago when he went on vacation.”
Gordon’s death, Dumond said, is a stark reminder of how aviation can be rewarding and brutal at the same time.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends in my 40 years in aviation,” Dumond said. “It happens in motor sports, it happens in snowmobiling, it happens in vehicles, [and] it shouldn’t happen but it’s one of those things that makes you slow down and think a bit.”
Dumond, who retired in 1991, recalled meeting Gordon when Gordon was a district warden in the Lincoln area.
“When he learned how to fly he put in to be a warden pilot,” Dumond said. “When there was an open slot they trained him for it.”
Gordon had been a warden pilot for the past seven or eight years, Dumond said.
While it is a risky occupation, Dumond said, being a warden pilot creates a strong bond among fellow pilots who would not want to be doing anything else.
“It’s a hell of a fraternity,” he said. “It’s like a big family [and] we’ve all lost friends but we would all do it again.”
Dumond said that when he became a warden pilot there were only about 13 in the state.
When he left, that number had climbed to 18 or 20.
“A lot of times when people start a job they leave after a while,” he said. “But once you start as a warden pilot you stay until you retire [because] it’s a way of life.”
Dumond said he was very familiar with the final route flown by Gordon, as he had flown it numerous times himself while on active duty with the warden service.
“I waved to him when he was taking off yesterday morning,” Dumond said. “I was out fueling my snowmobile and saw he was leaving. You just never know.”