FRYEBURG. (NEWS CENTER)-- People in Fryeburg are remembering a man who had been serving the town longer than most town residents have been alive.
Corliss Watson died over the weekend at age 88. One longtime friend said Watson “cared for other people” and did many things through his life to help them.
Watson served in the Fryeburg volunteer fire department for 70 years, including 18 years as chief. In April of this year, he and longtime friend Gay Keisman were honored together, for both giving seventy years to the department.
Current Fryeburg Chief Andy Dufresne says Corliss Watson had not actually fought fires for several years but continued to regularly attend meetings and training. He said Watson has been an inspiration and example to other generations of firefighters.
"There are folks who have been here many years, forty, fifty years who served under him as chief," Dufresne said.
He added that Watson also set an example for many people in Fryeburg.
"He's been a fixture here and an example of what it is about for folks to be involved in volunteer service in a small community."
Watson was already in the fire department when he left home to fight in the Korean War. He came back and operated a garage and several other businesses over the years. And, like many others in the town, he volunteered at the Fryeburg Fair.
"He cared. He cared for other people, had a wealth of family and friends in town. He was just a good guy.," said Fair President Roy Andrews, who told NEWS CENTER he had known Watson for 50 to 60 years. He said that among other contributions, Watson started and ran the annual firemen's muster, which he said over the past four decades has become one of the Fair's most popular events.
"Like I tell people, he was one of the good old boys of this town," said Andrews. " That's pretty good for Fryeburg, Maine."
Watson's legacy is being carried on by his son and grandson, who Chief Dufresne said are both firefighters and captains in the department.
Roy Andrews said both men also volunteer at the Fryeburg Fair, including work on the annual muster that started with Corliss.
A memorial service is being planned for Saturday and will be held at the fairgrounds.
Corliss Watson’s legacy will continue through his son and grandson---who are both fire department captains, and Fryeburg fair volunteers. In Fryeburg Don Carrigan News Center.