Bobby Hem, a skilled sous-chef at One Dock at the Kennebunkport Inn who was poised to become an executive chef, died early Sunday from injuries he suffered in a car accident. He was 26.

Hem, of Sanford, was a sous-chef at One Dock for just under a year. He worked alongside a dedicated staff, led by Brian Roche, 31, an executive chef at the restaurant and one of Hem’s closest friends.

On Saturday, Roche was driving a 2002 BMW sedan – with Hem in the passenger seat. Around midnight, the vehicle left the road and struck a utility pole near 198 Log Cabin Road in Arundel. Hem was ejected from the car and died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt. Roche was transported to Southern Maine Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Hem’s family, friends and co-workers struggled Monday to understand how a man who had so much potential and touched so many lives could die so tragically.

“He was a super sweet and energetic kid,” said Beth Geary, director of marketing at the Kennebunkport Inn. “It’s super sad and we are just trying to work through it. We are doing everything we can to support Brian through this and (help) Bobby’s family.”

Hem was the son of Srars Meas, of Sanford. He lived with his mother and two younger brothers, Robbie Hem, 24, and Charlie Meas, 22.

He graduated from Sanford High School in 2005, and then worked at numerous restaurants across southern Maine.

A close family friend, Rachana Walsh of Springvale, described Hem as hard-working, dedicated, creative and generous. She said he had a passion for cooking and loved to cook and bake for family and friends.

“He found his niche and was happy this moment,” Walsh said.

His brother Charlie Meas also emphasized his love for cooking. He didn’t know if Hem had plans to go to culinary school, but said he wanted to be a great chef.

“He was always determined,” his brother said. “He was good to me. He always made sure there was food for me.”

Hem was described Monday as caring, generous, funny and light-hearted. His personality shines through in the pictures posted of him on Facebook. As of Monday afternoon, Hem’s page was peppered with dozens of messages of shock and deep sadness.

A Facebook friend, Ryan Cote, wrote: “Rip Bobby Hem. You were such a nice caring guy. You will be greatly missed.” Another friend, Bethany Hussey, wrote, “It doesn’t matter how mad or aggravated you are with someone you care about and love, you tell them you love them. Do it for Bobby Hem. Do it because he loved us all fiercely and with an open heart. My heart aches so bad. Miss you buddy. Love you.”

The accident is being investigated by the York County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police.

“It’s a very serious investigation for obvious reasons. It will take awhile,” said William L. King Jr., chief deputy of the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected] 

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