Richard H. LaHaye Jr.

Nov 29, 2019
Richard LaHaye Jr.

Searsport — Chief Richard H. LaHaye Jr., cherished husband, father and grandfather, answered his final call Nov. 22, 2019, in Phoenix, where he was undergoing treatment for glioblastoma. He was first diagnosed with this devastating disease in May 2018, when he underwent emergency brain surgery. He was back at work in less than four weeks while traveling to Augusta for radiation each morning before he started his day in Searsport. In his words, he “never skipped a beat.”

He continued to fight the disease with everything he had by participating in a clinical trial and undergoing multiple surgeries, all while continuing to serve the citizens of Searsport whom he cared so deeply about.

He was born Dec. 3, 1953, in Hanover, N.H., the first of six children of Marilyn Carroll LaHaye and Richard LaHaye Sr. He grew up in Midcoast Maine, where he attended Medomak Valley High School and later the University of Maine at Machias. He began his career in law enforcement in 1976 as a Marine Patrol Officer with the Department of Marine Resources and was assigned to the Belfast/Searsport area. He married his devoted wife, Pam, in 1977 and together they raised their two children, of whom they are so proud.

In 1988, he was promoted to sergeant and was assigned to the Rockland office. During this time, he also was an adjunct instructor in marine law enforcement at Unity College, where he developed the curriculum for this new course. He also partnered with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create the curriculum for and administer the first combined academy for officers from both agencies. Dick was promoted to lieutenant in 1991 and assigned to the central office in Augusta, where he was the liaison with other state and local law enforcement agencies and was responsible for officer training.

He retired from the Marine Patrol in 1996 and started his own business. He coached varsity basketball and softball teams at Belfast Area High School and then moved on to Medomak Valley High School to coach girls’ varsity basketball and boys’ golf, in addition to working with students as the in-school suspension coordinator. This work led him back to law enforcement, and he became the first school resource officer at that school, holding joint appointments with the Knox and Lincoln county sheriffs' departments. He touched many students’ lives and considered the work he did in the Medomak and Searsport schools as his most impactful.

On Jan. 1, 2008, Dick began his tenure as chief of police for the Searsport Police Department. He devoted his days, nights, weekends and many holidays to the town and its citizens for nearly 12 years until he retired in July 2019. He proudly served as president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association over the past year. He had deep respect for, and many good friends among, his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

He will be deeply missed by his wife of 42 years, Pam, who was beside him all the way through his journey. His consistent golf slice to the left, trips to the races, tailgating and a shared love of Patriots’ game day food will be missed by his son, Matt, and his wife, Jenn. His daughter, Kate, and son-in-law Bobby Deetjen will miss his funny sayings, pizza nights, Rollie’s trips and his never-ending support. Papa will be hugely missed by his three special grandchildren, whom he adored, Carmen LaHaye and Noah and Hannah Deetjen.

He was predeceased by his parents and his mother-in-law and is survived by siblings Carroll, Wayne, Tracy, Diane and James, as well as a large extended family. He is also survived by his father-in-law, Walter Bunker, and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Kim and Mike Hodgkins and daughter Molly.

While a patient at Waldo County Oncology, Dick became aware of the many challenges, such as the cost of travel and medicine, faced by other patients who were undergoing treatment. He was proud of efforts by his grandchildren to raise money to meet these needs for others and grateful for the caring support offered by the staff there.

Memorial donations may be made in his honor to the Waldo County General Hospital Oncology Fund that supports local patients with expenses related to cancer treatment, either online at penbaywaldofoundation.org, or by mail, to Pen Bay Waldo Healthcare Foundation, 22 White St., Rockland. ME 04841.

A law enforcement service to commemorate Dick’s life and legacy will be held at Searsport District High School, 24 Mortland Road, Searsport, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.