Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND -- Wayne Boothby, a former president of the Sahara Club who dedicated his life to helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety, died Sept. 25. He was 74.
Wayne Boothby escorts his daughter Rebecca on her wedding day.
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.
In his early years, Mr. Boothby was a successful laborer who installed hardwood floors and rugs in residential homes and businesses throughout the Portland area. He was a husband and a dedicated father to his three children, and worked hard to provide a good life for his family.
On the outside, Mr. Boothby appeared to have it all, but that wasn't the case.
His daughter, Rebecca Cram of Buxton, said her father was an alcoholic. She remembered the day his life came crashing down.
It was a snowy winter day in 1978. Mr. Boothby was outside playing with his kids when he jumped off his back porch into a snowbank and shattered his heel on the grill. He was drunk.
His injuries left him unable to work in his profession.
"It was a life-changer for him," his daughter said. "He lost his job. He lost hope for a while. It was a really tough time."
Mr. Boothby struggled for the next 11 years. Then in 1989 he was admitted to the Mercy Recovery Center in Westbrook. He got sober and turned his life around.
Mr. Boothby then immersed himself in Portland's recovery community. He worked with other alcoholics at Milestone Foundation Inc. at its Old Orchard Beach location, and served as president of the Sahara Club for nine years.
Cram said her father dedicated his life to helping other alcoholics. She said her father was open with people about his recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.
"He 100 percent wanted people to know his life story so he could help someone else," Cram said. "He sponsored a lot of people. We would get these calls all the time. He would drop whatever he was doing to help them. He truly wanted to be a servant."
At the time of his death, Mr. Boothby had 23 years of continuous sobriety.
His children remembered him Monday as a humble and empathetic man who had a passion for life. He enjoyed gardening, playing bingo and taking long walks in the Fore River Sanctuary.
"I was in awe of my father my whole life," said his son, Todd Boothby of Tucson, Ariz. "I admired his intellect. He was extremely bright. He was stoic."
For the past nine years, Mr. Boothby lived at Harbor Terrace on Danforth Street.
In recent years, he experienced some serious health issues. His children say he kept a positive attitude and continued to help others.
Cram said she will miss his dry sense of humor.
"He could make you feel very special," she said. "He was very sweet and very friendly."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: