Timothy B. Hussey, the president and CEO of Hussey Seating Co. in North Berwick, died Monday after a long battle with cancer.

Hussey, 59, had been president of the family-owned seating company for more than 20 years, and was an active member in Maine’s business and development community. He died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Monday morning, surrounded by his family.

Hussey Seating employs about 250 workers and Hussey and was on a first-name basis with most of them, the company said in a statement posted on its website Monday.

“His mantra was: ‘We’re a family business – in it for the long run,’ ” the company said. “As he did with every challenge, Tim faced his disease head-on, with one of his priorities being to ensure a smooth transition of the day-to-day management of the company and to reaffirm the family’s commitment to see the business pass to the seventh generation of ownership and beyond.”

Hussey Seating’s chief financial officer, Gary Merrill, will now assume the role of president.

“I have every confidence that our team will overcome this loss and continue to manage this business successfully for the owners and shareholders,” Merrill said in a statement. “Tim was a very hands-on CEO, and this is his plan, his team and we’re more determined than ever to see this business set up for continued prosperity well into its third century of operation.”

The company was founded in 1835. Timothy Hussey was a member of the sixth generation of continuous Hussey family ownership and the latest Hussey to lead the business. He succeeded his father, Philip W. Hussey Jr., as president in 1995. He assumed the role of chief executive officer in 1996 and was elected to the board in 2001.

Chris Robinson, Hussey Seating’s director of marketing for the past 10 years, said Hussey truly believed in running his family-owned business with integrity and honesty. During his tenure, Hussey Seating won contracts to provide seating for professional sports arenas across the country, including Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts – the home of the New England Patriots.

“People who work here live, breathe and believe in our product,” Robinson said. “Tim absolutely believed we could compete on the world stage and we do every day.”

Despite the company’s successes nationally, Robinson said that Hussey kept his workforce focused on manufacturing quality seating products for schools and colleges.

“We do high-profile arenas and stadiums, but it is the local gym on a Friday night that remains our bread and butter,” Robinson said.

Robinson said Hussey Seating will honor Hussey’s lifelong passion for community service and leadership development by creating the Timothy B. Hussey Leadership Fund in conjunction with the Maine Community Foundation.

Robinson said the fund will be used to bring prominent speakers in education and leadership – two of Hussey’s passions – to Maine.

A colleague, Jim Nimon, said Hussey was an impressive businessman and even better leader. The men got to know each other after Nimon was hired as executive director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council in 2011.

Their business relationship included a visit and tour of Hussey Seating’s campus in North Berwick. Nimon vividly remembers the tour because Hussey recognized each employee they met by the person’s first name.

“You can’t fake that stuff,” he said.

Nimon said he would pick up the phone and give Hussey a call from time to time.

“He was modest, always a gentleman, and so smart,” Nimon said. “He made you feel at ease and that you mattered to him.”

Aside from his work with the company, Hussey was involved in numerous organizations and causes. He was the chairman of Educate Maine, a school board member in Regional School Unit 21, and served on the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine Economic Growth Council.

His passing was recognized by Maine’s U.S. senators.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins called Hussey a “remarkable, kind and intelligent leader with a deep commitment to our state and to his community.”

“The optimism, tenacity and good humor with which Tim battled his cancer was truly an inspiration and he will be greatly missed by all those who knew him,” Collins said.

“Maine has lost an extraordinary business and community leader and a wonderful friend,” Sen. Angus King said in a statement. “Tim was a strong, steady and visionary leader who loved and valued his employees and who gave selflessly and generously to his community. Maine is a better place as a result of Tim’s caring and important work, and I will miss him terribly.”

Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, who is from North Berwick, said Hussey’s impact as a civic and business leader could not be overstated.

“He was passionate about his family business built on the strength of six generations and its role in the community,” Eves said. “We are better off as a community and a state because of Tim’s dedication and the legacy he leaves behind.”

Hussey was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma, a rare form of cancer, in 2014 and detailed his battle with the disease over the next two years in a blog titled “Beating It – Tim’s journey in kicking cancer in the ass.”

The last post on the site is dated May 23, when Hussey described his feelings after he was discharged from the hospital and into home hospice care.

In a May 10 entry titled “My Spiritual Journey and Facing Mortality,” Hussey wrote: “Let me start at the end. I have reached the point where I don’t fear death. I actually don’t believe there is a permanent death for any of us, and this belief is very liberating!”

Robinson said Hussey’s family is working on the details of his funeral arrangements.

In the statement posted on its website Monday, the company said of Hussey, “His calm, steady leadership will be sorely missed, but he will be with us in spirit as we remain a family business, in it for the long run.”

Hussey Seating describes itself as a world leader in developing and manufacturing seating solutions for the sports and entertainment, education and worship markets. Its products include: polymer and upholstered chairs, telescopic platforms, bleachers and portable event seating.

Staff Writer Peter McGuire contributed to this report.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.