CARTHAGE, Maine — Kenneth “Stump” Flagg Jr., chief of the Carthage Fire Department, was remembered Wednesday by his friends and co-workers as a hard-working, dependable man who loved his family.
Flagg, 59, died unexpectedly at Rumford Hospital on Monday, Jan. 21.
Carthage Selectman Steve Brown said he knew Flagg for more than 30 years and became great friends with him after Flagg was appointed fire chief of Carthage.
“I’ve been a selectman for 33 years now, and Kenny was fire chief for about as long as I’ve had the job,” Brown said. “He was a very hard worker. He always took advantage of the daylight and was the first one up in the morning.”
Brown said Flagg was “the Rock of Gibraltar for his family” and a “great cook.”
“He had this tradition where once a year, during the Franklin County Municipal Association meeting, he would cook a roast beef meal,” Brown said. “We called it ‘the legislative wrap-up session,’ and he’d put a real feast on for everyone.”
On top of holding the rank of fire chief for more than 30 years, Flagg worked as a selectman for several years, was formerly the president of the Webb River Snowmobile Club and was the sexton for Newman’s Cemetery. Flagg also worked in the woods and drove a truck hauling wood for a variety of local harvesters, including the Berry family in Carthage.
“He juggled a lot of different positions,” Brown laughed. “I told him once that he had to cut back a little on all the work.”
Tim Hardy, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, said he worked with Flagg “on and off over the years.” He said Flagg was a part of the local Emergency Planning Committee, as well as the Franklin County Firefighters Association.
“I didn’t fight any fires with him, but I know he was very dedicated to his community,” Hardy said.
According to Philip Hill, member of the Webb River Snowmobile Club, Flagg was “the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off of his back even if he was freezing.”
“He was an excellent fire chief,” Hill continued. “I have no idea how they’ll replace him. I’m sure they’ll find somebody good to take the job, but Ken was very good at what he did. He took care of everything.”
Flagg was also known around Carthage for being reliable and willing to help anybody.
“I’ve known him all my life and he’d do anything for anybody,” Hill said.
Brown added that there have been countless situations where Flagg came through for his community.
“Back during the ’98 ice storm, I was gone on vacation for two weeks out of the country,” Brown said, ”and when I heard about what was happening back in Maine, I knew that the town would be in fine hands with Ken there. He knew the skills of everyone in town and how each person could help. You could always count on him.”
Flagg is survived by his three children, Casey Flagg, Amanda Fennell and David Flagg; six stepchildren, Barry Bradbury, Danny Bradbury, Kricket Davis, Kristal Child, Kathy-Jo Barnett and Kandice Child; 21 grandchildren, with another on the way; seven great-grandchildren; two brothers, Sidney and Teddy Flagg; and three sisters, Lydia Hutchinson, Kathy Turner and Stella Blanchard. He was predeceased by his parents, and siblings Bert Knox and Florence Flagg.