Clair Howard Lewis Jr., 75, died unexpectedly Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at Maine General Hospital Thayer Unit following an accident earlier that day in the woods in Thorndike.

Born in Hartland on Sept. 10, 1936, he was the son of Clair H. and Louise (Frisbee) Lewis. In 1955 he graduated from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. He attended the University of Maine at Orono where he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho and in 1959 received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture.

During and after college, Clair served several years with the Maine Air National Guard. Clair married his life’s love, Mary Esther Fogg, on June 26, 1965. Together they lived in Unity for the past 46 years.

In his teens, Clair was very active in the local baseball league, and took pleasure in playing his clarinet in both the Pittsfield town band and the UMO band. He was an avid water-skier in his youth, and cut quite a figure as he performed waterskiing tricks.

After college, Clair worked for Arbor Acres in Skowhegan and Penobscot Poultry in Belfast. As a service man at Penobscot, Clair was instrumental in the eradication of poultry diseases by instituting sanitation procedures to prevent contamination between flocks. He later worked for many years as a lineman for Unity Telephone Company.

In the late 1970’s, Clair started his own business. He was known locally as a jack of all trades, ranging from building roads, cutting and brokering wood, and operating heavy equipment.

In 2002, Clair and his family boiled the first gallon of maple syrup at Parson’s Valley Sugar Farm in Thorndike. This was a passion of Clair’s, one he started preparing for in the early 1980s. He enjoyed the time working with family and friends preparing for each season, and was in his “Down East” element during the annual Maple Sunday Open House.

Clair was an active member of the Masons for much of his adult life, raised as a full member in 1969, receiving his 32nd degree and his 40-year service pin in 2011. He was Master of the Star in the West Lodge four times, and held every office in the Lodge during his time there, serving as Marshall at the time of his death. He was also affiliated with the Sebasticook Masonic Lodge, where he was Senior Warden. Clair enjoyed the fellowship he found amongst the lodge members.

Clair served the town of Unity as both a selectmen and assessor. He was an active member of the Belfast United Methodist Church, serving on the building and finance committees. At the time of his death he was a trustee as well.

Clair enjoyed having his morning cup of coffee and socializing with his friends at The Depot in Unity and on Sundays at the Belfast United Methodist Church men’s group.

Surviving is his beloved wife of 46 years, Mary Lewis of Unity; his daughter, Barbara Jewett, her husband, Eric, and sons Keith, Ian and Tad of Fayette; his son, Christopher Lewis, his wife, Michelle, and children Alinda Sullivan and Daniel Lewis of Gorham; two sisters, Ada Mae Priest of Florida and Eleanor Wadsworth and her husband, David, of Madison; a sister-in-law, Barbara Ann Lamb and her husband, William, of Brunswick; and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held 4-7 p.m. with a Masonic service at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Performing Arts Center in Unity. A memorial service followed by a reception will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. at the Belfast United Methodist Church, 23 Mill Lane, Belfast with the Rev. Jinwoo Chun officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to the Building Fund, Belfast United Methodist Church, 23 Mill Lane, Belfast, ME 04915 (belfastumc.org). Condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Lewis family by visiting their book of memories at longfuneralhomecamden.com. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home in Camden.