November 2, 2012

Feature obituary: Herbert Bailey, 67, ran Bailey's Seafood for 30 years

He began lobstering in the waters off Orr's Island when he was 9 years old. He pulled his final lobster trap around July 18.

By Melanie Creamer
Staff Writer

BOWDOINHAM — Herbert Bailey, a well-known commercial fisherman and lobsterman who operated Bailey's Seafood for over 30 years, died Sunday. He was 67.

Herbert Bailey spent nearly his whole life on the waterfront.

Family photo


Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

Mr. Bailey spent nearly his whole life on the working waterfront.

He began lobstering in the waters off Orr's Island when he was 9 years old. He pulled his final lobster trap around July 18.

Mr. Bailey also worked as a commercial fisherman. He worked on numerous boats in the Harpswell area and traveled as far as Nova Scotia to fish. He was also a successful elver fisherman and a licensed elver dealer.

He owned Bailey's Seafood, a state-of-the-art facility that processed and packed shrimp, crabmeat and lobsters to sell locally.

At one point, Mr. Bailey supplied seafood to Taste of Maine Restaurant. He also shipped live elvers to China.

His daughter, Dawn Bernier of Topsham, said he caught elvers at a time when they sold for $30 a pound. This past season, elver fishermen earned roughly $2,600 per pound. Bernier said her father had been an elver dealer for the past 30 years.

"He was a pioneer in the (elver) industry and saw it turn into something very lucrative," Bernier said. "A lot of people have reaped the benefits of the groundwork he laid out. There are lots of players in the game now lots of people making money now."

Mr. Bailey was described as a salty and gruff guy, who worked hard and was well-respected in the fishing industry.

Bernier said her father loved fishing and being on the water.

"It was his world," she said. "It was where he could do his thinking. There were no walls. No boundaries. It was where he could go and the rest of the world would melt away."

Bernier and her brother, Herb Bailey, are planning to operate Bailey's Seafood.

"We will continue his legacy," Bernier said.

Mr. Bailey was the loving husband of Patricia Bailey for 46 years. The couple raised five children.

Bernier remembered him Thursday as a tough yet loving father, who always put his family first. She said he was more than a father -- he was her friend.

"I couldn't have asked for a better father," Bernier said. "I know there is no way he could have loved us any more than he did."

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


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