Philip Grondin, a co-founder of R.J. Grondin & Sons in Gorham and longtime president of the Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament, died Monday after a brief fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 76.

Family and friends will gather Friday at Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home in South Portland to pay tribute to a man they say worked hard all his life and generously gave back to the community.

“My dad was a hard-working, success-driven and fun-loving guy,” said his daughter, Michelle Raber of Scarborough. “If he was going to do something, he was going to do it right.”

Mr. Grondin co-founded R.J. Grondin & Sons, a general contracting company, with his brother Bob Grondin Jr. in 1959.

Since then, the company has grown to an estimated 110 employees and does jobs throughout southern and central Maine.

He led various projects across the state, including the Maine Turnpike widening and the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. In 1987, the company helped the Falmouth Country Club complete a construction job and open on time for the summer of 1988.

More recently, Mr. Grondin focused on strategic planning and procuring materials. He retired in 2004.

“They started the business from nothing and turned it into a $30 million company,” said his son, Larry Grondin, a partner in the third-generation, family-owned business. “He was very successful. He was highly regarded in the industry. He helped changed the industry.”

Mr. Grondin was a founding member of the Maine Aggregate Association. His son said he also helped shape policy for the construction industry at the state level.

He was the loving husband of Bette Grondin for 49 years. The couple lived in Yarmouth and raised four children.

Raber said Mr. Grondin was a great father who worked hard to provide a good life for his family.

He taught his sons to hunt and fish and loved spending time with his grandchildren: Noah, 19; Kyaira, 16; Isaac, 14; Elle, 10; Stella, 13 and Wyatt, 11.

“His family was everything,” his daughter said.

“He got the most of every moment. He really did. He was just a kind and generous man. If you were a friend, you were like extended family. He had that amazing gift. When he was with you, he was really with you, unless the Red Sox or Patriots were on.”

Another hallmark of his life was founding the Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament. Since 1998, the tournament has raised more than $800,000 for various causes including scholarships to all seven Maine community colleges, the Dan Cardillo Foundation, and the Byron Gouzie Scholarship Fund. This year, the tournament raised a record-breaking $72,000 for scholarships. His son said he was incredibly proud of that.

“It’s a huge testament to my father,” Larry Grondin said. “He was very personable, very persuasive, and very determined. If he felt strongly about something and felt it was the right thing to do, he put all of his energy into it. He was great at getting people around him to all push in the same direction.”

On Aug. 2, Mr. Grondin attended the tournament’s annual buffet dinner and captain’s meeting the night before the start of fishing. The following morning, he went to the hospital with a pain in his side. Doctors discovered the cancer and his health declined quickly after that.

Two weeks ago, organizers, sponsors and fishermen came together for a party to celebrate the success of this year’s tournament. More than 130 people turned out.

“People came out of the woodwork to see dad and celebrate him,” Raber said. “It was pretty sweet. It meant the world to him.”

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

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