July 23, 2013

Ex-Waterville mayor, legislator Carey dies at 84

He is remembered for enthusiasm, humor, colorful exploits and some financial controversy.


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Richard “Spike” Carey served in local government in Belgrade and Waterville and in the state House and Senate.

Morning Sentinel File Photo

State Finance Commissioner Rodney Scribner later excused lottery officials for nearly $10,000 in challenged expenditures. Gov. Joseph Brennan maintained that he did not ask Carey to resign and said Carey was not fired, but Carey left after a meeting with Brennan.

There were also local disputes. In April 1978, the Morning Sentinel reported on a hearing that was called by the City Council over whether Carey, then mayor, had used city money to buy a 1975 Plymouth sedan that was once a state police cruiser.

Carey also ran unsuccessfully for governor against fellow Democrat Brennan in 1978.


Old co-workers and family members said he was a hard-working and meticulous mayor who could recall city expenditures by department from memory.

Carey once told the Morning Sentinel that with long hours as mayor, he estimated he was earning "a little over a buck an hour."

Former City Hall custodian Fred Jobber said Carey "liked to be a hands-on mayor" and once climbed scaffolding to the City Hall roof so he could personally check on a maintenance project repairing the eaves.

Along with his reputation as a hard worker, Carey was known for his sense of humor and colorful exploits.

Jobber said one day he couldn't find a Band-Aid in City Hall, so Carey thought it would be fun to call for Waterville rescue to bring him one. "The next week every office had a first aid kit," he recalled.

Helen said Carey once hit a golf ball across the Kennebec River to Winslow in response to a challenge.

Jobber, 72, of Benton, said Carey was the first of 10 mayors he served under. Jobber said he wasn't sure how to set up the stage for Carey's inauguration because it was the first time he constructed the platform.

After asking other people around City Hall for advice and not getting a good answer, he called Carey at home the morning before the inauguration. "He said, 'Don't worry about it, I'll be right down. How do you drink your coffee?"' Jobber said.

Carey arrived in a baseball cap and a cup of coffee and helped him carry the stage material from the basement to the Opera House.


Kaitlin Schroeder can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:



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