SOUTH PORTLAND – Robert Joseph Hewlett was devoted to his church.

“Faith and religion was his thing,” said his daughter Gail Mills.

Mr. Hewlett died Thursday. He was 75.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Mr. Hewlett came to Maine after marrying his wife, Charlene, in 1952. He worked with Casco Printing and Maine Printing Co., and tended bar at Valle’s and the Village Cafe.

“He loved people,” his daughter said, which was perhaps why Mr. Hewlett took up bartending. “Maybe it was just the people, but also to earn a second income.”

He also worked for South Portland’s parks department. His daughter said he worked on a trash truck for a while, then did road maintenance and also prepared the playing fields for recreational sports.

A member of St. John the Evangelist Church since the late 1960s, Mr. Hewlett was very involved with Masses and prayer groups.

“He has a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said the Rev. Paul Coughlin, who is now retired from the church.

He was a lector and a Eucharistic minister, serving at all funeral Masses and volunteering for anything that had to be done.

“He was always kind of like Johnny on the spot. Whenever anything needed to be done, he would be there,” Coughlin said.

Even after Coughlin retired from the church, the two kept in touch. Coughlin said Mr. Hewlett was “just a good guy.” They would meet nearly every Monday, for lunch or dinner.

“He loved going out to restaurants to eat with friends,” Mills said.

His daughter Theresa Chicoine shared special time with her father attending Catholic conferences together, as well as prayer groups. She said he was so active in the church because “he felt like he was serving the Lord.”

“That was his way,” Chicoine said.

Mills said he cared a lot about people. Chicoine experienced that firsthand when their father drove to Lewiston during a blizzard to visit her in the hospital after she had spinal surgery.

“He said he would drive through any weather to make sure his beautiful daughter was taken care of,” Chicoine said. He brought along a bouquet of flowers to cheer her up. “That was how he was, always showing his love to his family and friends.”

When Mills was young, her father taught her to play cribbage. She said they always played a game or two before she left the house for the day, even when he lived with her in the past year. While they would play other games to pass the time, she said, cribbage was his favorite.

“With cribbage, you have to use your mind a little bit more,” Mills said.

He tried teaching the caretaker who would visit when he became homebound.

“My father just loved to teach him how to play (cribbage),” she said, but the caretaker never really got the hang of it.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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