ARUNDEL — Roland Drew’s hunting camp sits on 42 acres overlooking Great Moose Lake in St. Albans.

“He always called it ‘our little piece of heaven,’” recalled his friend, Dwayne Seeley, who helped build the camp in 1999.

Around this time every year, he enjoyed being at the camp and hunting with his friends. For the past two years, he spent Thanksgivings there with Seeley and his family. This year, he decided to wait until Friday to drive to the camp. He never showed up.

Mr. Drew died late Friday after his truck veered off an access bridge on Cyrs Siding Road near the camp and plunged 15 feet into a brook. He was 83.

Mr. Drew’s family and friends struggled on Monday to accept the passing of a man they considered, “larger than life.”

He was an insurance and risk adviser at Cole Harrison Insurance in Kennebunk for 23 years. He managed insurance affairs for an impressive portfolio of clients, including former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.

“They became fast friends,” said Jeff Cole, president of the firm. “He was very proud and very honored (to represent the former president).”

Cole last saw Drew Wednesday afternoon. They talked about his recent hunting trip to Colorado.

“There was always a laugh in the day with Roland,” Cole said.

Mr. Drew was described as a compassionate and generous guy, who had a devilish grin and a hearty laugh.

Pamela Ertelt, the youngest of his two children, said they traveled to Paris and China together. She said he was fun, charismatic and had a great sense of humor.

“My father was awesome,” she said. “He was an incredible human being”

He had a passion for hunting, fishing and conducting field trials. He was an active member of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association for the past 25 years. He was a senior judge for field trials and trained dogs for field competitions throughout the United States and Canada.

Seeley said they hunted and trained bird dogs together. He said Drew was like a father to him.

“He was one of the nicest guys you would ever meet,” Seeley said. “When my son graduated from boot camp in Missouri, he went there with us. He loved my boys. He loved my step-daughter. You just had to know the guy.”

Mr. Drew was dedicated to serving the community. He served nine years on the Board of Selectmen in Kennebunkport and 12 years as a selectman in Arundel. He served on the board of directors for the Kennebunk Chamber of Commerce and the former Maine Center for the Blind. He also served on the board of directors for Iris International for 20 years or so.

He was also former president of the Kennebunk Rotary Club and participated in many fundraisers for local causes.

Ertelt said her father felt strongly about giving back to the community because his family struggled when he was young.

“He was a self-made man, who really lived the American dream,” she said. “He believed in giving back to the community. He wanted to share his success with other people. He was very inspirational in that regard. He set such a fine example.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]