Gary Caron had a busy day Dec. 2. After driving for nearly two hours from his home in Greenville, he arrived at Mount View High School a little after 8 a.m. to begin a job that would take until midnight.

Caron, with help from his son and Mustang boys basketball coach, Steve Caron, spent the day painting a behemoth mural of the school’s Mustang mascot on the gymnasium wall.

For a 70-year-old, this might seem an arduous task. However, Gary is used to it. He has been painting since high school. Since he has started, he has painted murals for schools in Waterville, Cony of Augusta, Mount Abram of Strong, Carrabec of North Anson, Dexter, Guilford, Piscataquis in Guilford and about eight to 10 others.

He said he has done so many that he cannot recall them all.

On Thursday, he painted for Mount View, where his son coaches, and three grandchildren and daughter-in-law have graduated.

Steve, who has coached at Mount View since 1983, was especially happy about this job.

“It’s a source of pride and pride is something that I’m trying to develop here and cultivate,” Steve said. “My wife is from the area, all my kids graduated from Mount View High School. It’s a special thing for me to be able to do this in a new facility and just being a part of the new school and trying to turn the basketball program around.”

Steve is a painter now, although he paints houses, and he used to watch his father paint when he was a child.

“I paint houses. I’m not an artist like he is but I’ve always marveled at his work from a distance,” Steve said. On this job, Steve helped his father with the work moving equipment, and making sure everything ran smoothly.

This job took quite a bit of planning. The father and son thought to get it done more than 10 years ago. However, they knew there would be a new school and gym built so they waited. Then they waited again to get the approval to paint in the new facility.

After they received the O.K., the Carons were going to give the mural to the school as a gift. As it turned out, a senior class representative asked to give it as their class gift.

As a coach, Steve has an interesting perspective on his father’s work. When he goes to games in other school gyms, there are his dad’s murals.

“Well, it’s envious to a point,” Steve said. “For me, there is a huge source of pride [that] my dad did that work.“

“It’s cool to go there, see what he does,” he said. “It’s a source of pride there, now we brought it home. So I don’t have to talk about it being anywhere else, I got it right here.”

Now, Steve hopes this will be a source of Mount View school pride. He said the new gym was nice already; now it is something else.

“The presentation here is just excellent and you couldn’t ask for a better facility to do what you do,” he said. “That pride should carry over into wins and losses.”

“We should protect our house. That’s what pride is: you don’t let other teams come in and get over on you.“

Gary has pride too. “I think it’s great. I scream and yell my guts out at the games,” he said.

The timing is also perfect. The mural will be done in time for the Mustang’s first home game of the regular season, against defending Eastern Class B champion Camden Hills, on Friday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Gary has had a long past in painting. He graduated from Greenville High School and went to work at a television station. He soon left because he didn’t like working in the office atmosphere.

“I didn’t like working inside. I was young and very energetic,” he said. So, he decided to become an artist. He took mail-in courses through the Normal Rockwell School, moved back to Greenville, married, and started his own sign business.

After that he spent a lifetime learning and perfecting his trade. “Because of all my schooling and all my experience I have developed about every technique there is,” Gary said.

For about 19 years he went to Laconia Motorcycle week to photograph and learn about pinstriping and airbrushing techniques and worked on those for about 20 years.

Gary said he prefers to do his work by hand “because you did it, you know what I mean?”

Now he is retired but works when he can.

Even beyond painting techniques, Gary was a pastor for 40 years at the Open Bible Baptist Church in Farmington. There, he painted murals as well.

His favorite part about the job is the work and dedication it takes.

“Wherever there is glory, there’s guts, because as much as I like it, I am 70 years old. There are a lot of tough days for me,” he said. “It’s hard work, it’s not as easy as it looks.”

He continued to say that even if one has the good fortune of going to college, which he thinks people should, that person still has to work hard.

“If you are going to be successful in life nothing is easy, but the rewards are eternal and great, they are awesome,” Gary said.

Those rewards, he said, are beyond the payment he receives.

“Anytime I go somewhere or I meet someone who knows a certain school, but doesn’t know me, they will say, ‘Oh did you do that in that school?’ and they will say, ‘That is awesome,’ ” he said. “It’s nice to have people enjoy your work. I think the fruit of your labor is more important than the money.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.