Tom Lee was one of those people who provide the glue that holds communities together.

Lee, who died Friday in Biddeford at age 95, worked at Saco Defense for decades, served as an Old Orchard Beach town councilor, organized countless baseball, softball, basketball and golf leagues and also managed to open and close the polls most Election Days and served as a bail commissioner for more than 15 years.

“He was the kind of guy that everybody knew and he knew everybody,” his son, Bob Lee, said.

Mr. Lee was an athlete in his youth, playing baseball and football at Biddeford High School, back in the days when football helmets didn’t have facemasks.

“I think he might have had a few broken noses,” Bob Lee said.

Being bail commissioner was something that Mr. Lee really enjoyed, his son said. Police would call the house, tell him who had been arrested and for what, and then Mr. Lee would set the bail, he said.

“In Old Orchard, that’s pretty busy in the summer,” Bob Lee said. “I always kidded him that he was hanging out with the wrong people all the time.”In later years, Mr. Lee grew hard of hearing, so his wife, Irene, would chat with the officers when they called late at night while her husband put his hearing aids in.

Mr. Lee also served two terms on the Old Orchard Beach Council, his son said, but eventually decided “he would much rather talk about politics” than participate. Still, he remained friendly with politicians in town and was always available to offer some friendly advice, his son said.

His father also enjoyed opening and closing the polls, Bob Lee said, making Election Day a social event, since he knew almost everyone who came in.

Mr. Lee loved golf and was good enough to “shoot his age” when he reached his 70s, Bob Lee said.

He eventually was made a life member of the Biddeford-Saco Golf Club, Bob Lee said.

Mr. Lee also organized sports leagues, primarily for workers at the arms plant, his son said, but also made time to coach Little League teams.

“He had a pretty full life,” his son said.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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