Harry E. French, 70, died Feb. 4, 2010, at the VA Medical Center in Togus after a brief illness.

Born in Rockland Oct. 2, 1939, he was a son of Alwin S. and Flora (Hamlin) French. Educated in Rockland schools, he was a 1957 graduate of Rockland High School.

An article printed in the Dec. 22, 2004, edition of the Village Soup Times quoted Harry as saying, “Pumping gas is pretty much all I’ve ever done.” He started pumping gas in 1954 while still in high school, when gas was 24 cents a gallon, and said that he had done that in one place or another ever since. That first job was with Don Drisko’s Rockland Sunoco Station. In 1956 he began working with Dick Smith, who operated various service stations in Rockland.

From 1963 to 1965 he served as a medical specialist in the Army, primarily at Fort Hood, Texas.

Returning to civilian life, Harry continued working with Smith at his Maverick Square service station, and in 1978 purchased that business, which he operated until 2006. Immediately after retirement, Harry reopened his business at his residence in Rockland; retirement was not for Harry. In the above-quoted article, Harry said that he had worked with a lot of good people at the pumps; too many to name. He considered his longtime coworker Gordon Fish a personal friend as well.

Harry was one of the city’s most respected businessmen. He was beloved by all those who worked for him or stopped in for a chat or to fill up their vehicle. Harry never forgot the people who were a part of his life.

In addition to his parents, Harry was predeceased by a brother, Stanley A. French, in 1998.

He is survived by a daughter, Brenda A. McLaughlin, of Rockland; a grandchild, Kyle A. McLaughlin; a son, Ronald Grover, of Waldoboro; several nieces and special cousins, Kurt Passon of Milton, Fla., and David Hamlin of South Thomaston. He also remained very fond of his former wife, Anne E. French, of Lincolnville; and stepchildren Ryan Quinn of Warren, Jill Velencia of New Mexico, and Samantha Quinn and her child, Alexander Copeland, both of Lincolnville.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St. in Rockland, where a funeral service will be held Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Linwood Welch will officiate. A reception will follow the service at the funeral home’s 104 Limerock reception facility. Spring interment will be in Achorn Cemetery in Rockland.

To leave online condolences, visit obituaries at bchfh.com.