Master beekeeper Stanford Brown, one of the founding fathers of modern beekeeping in Maine and the oldest registered apiarist in the state, has died, an attorney for one of his daughters has confirmed.

Brown ran Brown’s Bee Farm, a popular beekeeping equipment and supply shop on his property in North Yarmouth, in addition to keeping about 50 hives of his own until his health began to decline in his 90s. Brown died May 22 at Maine Medical Center in Portland. He was 95.

Brown also worked for years professionally as a plumber, electrician, septic system installer and was the code enforcement and plumbing inspector for the town of North Yarmouth.

His farm was the scene of a tragedy in 2013 when his son-in-law, 63-year-old Leon Kelley, was fatally shot by 72-year-old Merrill Kimball in a dispute over the ownership of 700 pounds of honey in the supply shop. Kimball’s wife, Karen Kimball, was close friends with Brown and managed the business and cared for him as he got older. She had finished processing the honey on the morning of Oct. 6 and had come back in the afternoon to collect it.

When Karen Kimball returned with her husband and son, Damon Carroll, they were confronted by Kelley, his wife Kathleen Kelley, who is Brown’s daughter, and two of her children. Kelley shoved or pushed Merrill Kimball as he ordered him off the property, and Merrill Kimball drew a pistol from his belt after retreating, and fired three shots into Kelley.

Brown’s death comes as Merrill Kimball, who was convicted by a jury of murder in April, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday for Kelley’s death. Merrill Kimball is also facing a wrongful death suit filed by Kathleen Kelley, seeking $1 million.


Attorney Christiane Williams, who represents Kathleen Kelley in the wrongful death suit, confirmed Brown’s death on Tuesday morning. She said she has discouraged her client from commenting about Brown’s death.

Other members of Brown’s family could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

But word of Brown’s death had already reached members of the bee community.

“He was an iconic beekeeper,” said Jacky Hildreth, president of the Maine State Beekeepers Association. “He taught quite a few people about beekeeping. He was always willing to talk bees.”

Hildreth said it was common for a fellow beekeeper to plan a five-minute visit to Brown’s beekeeping equipment shop at 239 Greely Road in North Yarmouth expecting to pick up a few supplies and end up spending an hour there exchanging ideas with Brown about the hobby.

“You learned so much,” Hildreth said. “He came across as if he had known you for years, even if you just met.”


Hildreth, 53, has been a farmer all his life but only took up beekeeping seriously about 10 years ago. He said his wife is afraid of bees, so it took some convincing.

Since Hildreth got into beekeeping, he said he has seen the hobby surge in popularity. The Cumberland County Beekeepers group swelled about 30 or so members to more than 300. A York County group formed along with other groups around the state.

“It’s people like Stan Brown who really instituted bringing the rest of the state in,” Hildreth said. “He will be missed.”



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