Friday, March 7, 2014
Peter Corey was such a fixture at the Casco Bay branch of the YMCA that the staff and other members there were like his second family.
"He's a wonderful caring individual that all the staff here cared deeply about," said Scott Krouse, executive director of the branch in Freeport, part of the YMCA of Southern Maine. "We're going to miss him a lot."
Corey, 66, whose special needs made it difficult for him to walk and talk, was killed when his condominium unit in Yarmouth exploded Tuesday morning.
What appears to be a propane explosion leveled two condo units and damaged at least 10 others, as well as many other buildings in the surrounding area.
Shortly after 6 a.m., when the blast occurred, Corey would most likely have been starting to prepare for his daily trip to the YMCA.
His neighbors said that his sister-in-law, Julie Corey, came by daily to pick him up and take him to the YMCA, where he would spend the day, then bring him home in the afternoon.
"He'd come with his meals and make his breakfast here at the Y in our kitchen," Krouse said.
Corey, who was very health conscious, ate oatmeal and plenty of fruit, then hit the exercise machines. Krouse said he had a very regimented workout, with strength training and cardiovascular machines.
"Normally, after his workout ... he would volunteer -- giving back -- cleaning equipment, folding towels, cleaning the kitchen," Krouse said.
He would shower and shave, then make himself lunch.
The staff and members got to know Corey well and grew very fond of him, Krouse said. He kept a meticulous journal of his days, enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, and sat in with a group affectionately called "the philosophers" as they discussed issues of the day, not interjecting opinions but listening to the conversation.
Krouse spoke to Corey often – particularly on Mondays, to ask how his weekend had been. This week, Corey told Krouse he had gone to the movies with his brother Walter.
"He loved family. He would always talk about his brother Walter," Krouse said.
Peter Corey's older brother, Walter Corey, lives in Scarborough. He is an attorney who worked for Bernstein Shur, served in the administration of Gov. Ken Curtis and worked with Sen. George Mitchell, according to an interview for Bowdoin College.
Walter and Julie Corey couldn't be reached by telephone Tuesday.
"You never like to lose good people," Krouse said. "When you're family, you enjoy seeing them every day and being connected. When that person isn't there, there's a gap.
"I'm very happy we could play a role in Peter's life," he said. "He benefited from us. We probably benefited two-fold."
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: