LIMINGTON — Oscar W. Libby, a retired foreman at General Marine in Portland who worked his whole life and always kept a neatly cut lawn, died on Saturday. He was 81.

Mr. Libby was remembered by his family Sunday afternoon as a worker. When he was 16, Mr. Libby lied about his age and got a job on a tar crew for the state. At the time, workers rode in the back of trucks dumping sand on top of the tar so it wouldn’t stick to tires.

A few years later, he worked as a cement finisher at a dam in Connecticut. His job was to hang from a rope over the dam to smooth out the cement. He worked a short stint at the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset, returning to Connecticut to work as a carpenter at the hydroelectric dam in Sandy Hook.

“We were like gypsies,” said his wife, Gloria Libby of Limington. “We went from one job to another. We had a trailer with our belongings riding along behind the car. When I got pregnant with my fifth child, he said, ‘I guess I have to park you somewhere.’ “

In July 1954, the couple bought a home on 100 acres in Limington. Four months later, it burned to the ground. His wife said the fire started after she put some ashes in the barn rather than outside.

“It was raining out,” she said. “I didn’t want to get wet. It was my fault. I felt so bad. He worked so hard to get that house.”

He built a new home with secondhand lumber and secondhand hardwood flooring.

Mr. Libby and his wife would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in July. The couple raised seven children.

His daughter Patty Ramsdell, the town clerk of Limington, said he was always willing to help them. Ramsdell remembered her father teaching her how to ride a bicycle.

“He ran me up and down the driveway,” she said.

Mr. Libby and his wife gave pieces of their land to five of their children. He helped each of them build their homes.

“There isn’t anything he wouldn’t try to do,” his wife said. “He wasn’t schooled. He couldn’t help them with their homework, but he helped build their homes.”

Mr. Libby had diabetes for 40 years, but it never kept him from working At General Marine, he did construction jobs such as installing pilings for docks. At home, he worked in his garden and mowed his lawn often. His wife said he played cribbage some nights after work.

Mr. Libby was cleaning up his driveway the day before he died. His wife said she will miss him.

“He was a really good husband and a good father,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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