RAYMOND – Lester Wood, a longtime Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy who served as supervisor for campus security at Bowdoin College for the past nine years, died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 48.

Mr. Wood was remembered by his family and colleagues this week as a man who dedicated his life to serving the community.

He worked for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years, first as a patrol deputy and later as a sergeant.

“He gave back to the community he loved,” said his mother, Patricia Wood of Saco. “He enjoyed serving the public.”

He grew up in Falmouth as one of six children. In his early teens, the family moved to Raymond, where he would establish his roots in community service.

At age 14 or 15, he became a volunteer firefighter in Raymond. He served in that capacity for more than 20 years.

Mr. Wood attended Cheverus High School in Portland and graduated in 1983.

He went on earn a degree in criminal justice from the former Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute, then later from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Waterville.

Mr. Wood joined the office of safety and security at Bowdoin College in 2001. He worked as a campus security officer and was promoted to patrol supervisor in 2004.

Randall Nichols, director of safety and security at Bowdoin College, said in a prepared statement: “Lester was a respected and valued employee, a capable supervisor and trusted friend.”

On Monday, his mother emphasized Mr. Wood’s willingness to put others’ needs before his own. She said when a family member or friend was sick or needed help, he was usually the first to help out.

“The family relied on him for that steadiness and taking care of us, so to speak,” she said.

His younger brother, Lawrence Wood of Raymond, said he looked up to Mr. Wood.

“I admired his honesty and work ethic,” his brother said. “I’ll miss him stopping by to see what’s going on.”

Mr. Wood was never married and didn’t have children. He was engaged to Deborah Cole-Hall. The couple lived in Raymond and expected to get married this summer.

He suffered a severe heart attack Thursday at home and died. That night, Mr. Wood and Cole-Hall were planning to meet his mother at a restaurant to celebrate their birthdays. One of his siblings went to the restaurant to break the news to their mother.

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I feel like a dishrag. I feel very lost without him. I’m at a loss for words. I’m sorry. Of course, we don’t have a say in when we are passing beyond this life. It doesn’t happen at our convenience, but I guess we have to turn to look at the joy in life he had.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]