CAMDEN - Parker Stone Laite, Sr., one of the community's most recognized and active civic leaders, died Monday, June 6, 2016, at his home surrounded by loving family and friends following a brief illness.
Born November 14, 1933 in Camden, he was the son of Gilbert and Dorothy Stone Laite, and the second oldest of four brothers. Parker graduated from Camden High School in 1951 and Maine Maritime Academy in 1954. Parker later attended a 14-week Executive Education program at Harvard Business School from February to May, 1970.
Ten days after his graduation from Maine Maritime, Parker signed on as a merchant marine and served as a junior third mate on the S.S. Steel Architect for Isthmian Lines Steamship Company, then owned by U.S. Steel and also with the Farrell Lines and the American Export Lines. He served two years of active duty in the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant Laite also served ten years of reserved duty.
Parker married his high school sweetheart, Irene 'Renie' Fitzsimmons at the Camden Amphitheatre October 2, 1955. Together they raised two children, Parker 'Chip' and Dorothy 'Dody', in their hometown.
In 1961, Parker embarked on an exciting career with Marine Colloids, Inc. in Rockland (later in 1977 to be owned by FMC Corp., Chicago, IL). For 30 years, as international buyer for the company's raw product, seaweed, he traveled the world making many friends in all corners of the globe. In 1972, he established Laite Construction, Inc. and later in 1998 until 2007, was one of the owners of Wayfarer Marine, Inc. Both in earthwork as well as the boat business, Parker strived to keep local people employed with year round jobs in Camden.
Career aspirations aside, Parker always made time for his community, his church, and his family. For more than half a century, he conscientiously served with his own special acumen, warmth, and sense of humor.
Parker served nine years on the Board of Selectmen, including two terms as chair. He served for 15 years on the town Planning Board, mainly as its chair. He also served on the Land Use and Comprehensive Plan committees, the Camden Post Office Committee, the Harbor Committee, as co-chair of the Town Charter Committee, and as a member of a committee that established zoning for Camden.
He also served on the committee that formed School Administrative District 28 and was involved in many school construction projects. He was the moderator for many years at the annual town meeting. He served on the Camden Public Library Board of Trustees, serving as president from 2000 to 2004. In 1993, he directed the restoration of the Camden Amphitheatre and was chair of the building committee that managed the construction of the library's underground Centennial Wing in 1996, and remained as an honorary Trustee. He was a trustee of the Pascal Fund and served on the Camden Cemetery Association, the Camden Veterans' Honor Roll Committee, and was a trustee, as well as a president, of the Camden Area History Center.
He had been a trustee of Pen Bay Medical Center and was chair of their building committee. He was also a trustee of the Camden Health Care Center and was chair of that building project. He was a lifelong member of St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, where he had been a choir boy, acolyte, vestryman, Building Committee chair, Finance Committee chair, and reliable usher. Parker also was a 61 year member of the Masonic Amity Lodge #6.
Parker was honored in 1994 as Rockport-Camden-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce's Townsperson of the Year. In 2007, the Camden Town Report was dedicated to him for his service to the community.
His final role for his beloved town was as the Grand Marshall in the Memorial Day parade, one week prior to his passing. He was also blessed that week with meeting his first great-grandchild, Maxwell Stone Laite.
He is predeceased by parents Gilbert and Dorothy; brothers, Vance, Keryn, and Gilbert; and his wife of 50 years, Irene F. Laite.
Parker is survived by his son, Parker S. Laite, Jr. (Chip) and wife Nancy L. of Camden, Maine; daughter, Dorothy L. Urquia (Dody) and husband David C. of Readfield, Maine; grandchildren, Parker S. Laite III, wife Sydney J. and their three-week old son, Maxwell S. of Annandale, Virginia, Victoria L. Anderson and husband Thomas M. of Framingham, Massachusetts, Lindsey N. Urquia of Atlanta, Georgia, Morgan M. Urquia of Readfield, Maine; and his significant other and cherished friend, Joan Mullaney of Camden, Maine. He also is survived by very dear nephews and nieces, and many friends in the States and around the world.
Friends and relatives are invited to visit from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, June 12 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 33 Chestnut Street, Camden. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m. Monday, June 13 at St. Thomas'. (Overflow seating will be at the Camden Opera House.) The Rev. Suzanne Colburn will officiate. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Oak Hill Memorial Garden Fund, c/o Camden Town Office, P.O. Box 1207, Camden, ME 04843, or to the charity of one's choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
To share a memory or condolences with Parker's family, please visit their Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.