Westbrook-based White Bros., a family-run excavation company for more than half a century, is being sold to Lane Construction of Connecticut.

Brothers Don and Ed White founded the company in 1955, and its history is inseparable from the White family’s story. The business was first housed in Don White’s home on Duck Pond Road, where his wife Barbara took care of the company’s paperwork, as well as their two young sons, Mike and Tim.

Twenty-five years later, when Don White died in a car crash, those two boys, who then were only in their 20s, took over the company. And recently, they’ve had to make the heart-wrenching decision to sell it.

“After careful analysis, hand wringing and sleepless nights, we determined that a sale of the company was the proper thing to do,” Mike White, the company’s president, wrote in a letter to city officials last week.

White declined to comment on the sale and deferred to White Bros. Web site for the details of the company’s history. White Bros., which has 60 employees, is located on Warren Avenue and is a general contractor for commercial site work, utility work and site preparation.

In his letter, White said, he, his brother Tim and his son Josh “will continue with the company in day-to-day managerial capacities,” and the business will retain the White Bros. name, as a division of Lane Construction.

White wrote that his family, who for health reasons decided to sell the company, hand-picked Lane because the company shared “the same commitment to the core values we hold: honesty, integrity, responsibility and a commitment to its employees.”

The White family has long been known as an active member of the Westbrook community.

“You couldn’t ask for a better relationship between a company and the city than what the White family has established,” said City Councilor John O’Hara. “They don’t do it any less than first rate.”

Even the company’s competitors can’t say a bad word about the business.

“They’ve been as good a friend as we’ve ever had in the industry,” said Danny Shaw of Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham. “We’ve helped each other out, we’ve traded equipment. We’ve always been able to treat their yard like it was ours and vice-versa.”

In addition to their construction projects, White Bros. has also lent its hands to community projects. Mike White helped spearhead the skate park built next Hannaford in 2006.

“It had been talked about for a number of years, but nothing really happened,” said Kathy Poirier, a Pierce Street resident and community volunteer who worked with White on the project. “Mike was the one who really got it moving.”

Beyond that, Poirier said, he’s been someone for neighbors to call on for help with any project that needs some heavy lifting.

After a rash of accidents at Cumberland and Pierce streets, White dropped two boulders at the intersection to protect the lawn of the home on the corner. Last winter, Poirier said, when her driveway was filled with too much snow to shovel, White came by with a front-end loader and cleared it.

“They’re great people,” she said.

But there’s no doubt in the community that Lane, whose officials declined to comment on the acquisition this week, will carry on in the same vein as White Bros.

“I think Lane is a top-shelf company,” said Shaw.

O’Hara said he’s excited to bring another high-quality business into Westbrook.

“This could be a win-win situation for the city,” he said.

The White family, from left, brothers Tim White and Mike White and Mike’s son Josh White, stand in front of a bucket loader outside their company in Westbrook on Monday afternoon. They have decided to sell their business, but will remain on with the new company. (Staff photo by Brandon McKenney)

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