Wesley Johnson, a retired police officer, avid part-time lobsterman and lifelong resident of Long Island in Casco Bay, died Monday after a four-year fight with cancer. He was 88.

Mr. Johnson graduated from the Portland Police Academy in 1955 and served as an officer, first in the city and later on Long Island, for three decades. He also served as Cumberland County deputy sheriff.

Doris Wood, who knew Johnson her whole life, said Friday he was a kind-hearted person who really cared about the community.

“He went over and above his call of duty, forever,” Wood said. “He was always checking on people to make sure they were OK, and that their cottages were taken care of. … He was always making sure the kids weren’t getting into mischief. He liked to keep people safe. He was everyone’s friend, but he held the badge. If there was an arrest that needed to be made, he made it.”

Cinny Hallett of Long Island had a close call with then-Officer Johnson some 50 years ago. She laughed Friday, recalling the night she was almost arrested.

“I’ll tell ya, a whole bunch of teenagers were drinking on the beach and he caught us all,” she said. “We thought he was going to arrest us. He took me by the [nape] of my neck and dragged me by my collar home to my mother. It was the last time he caught us,” she said laughing.

Mr. Johnson was married to Barbara Johnson for 59 years and the couple raised two children. She died in 2007.

Their son, Bruce Johnson of Sugar Land, Texas, shared memories Friday of growing up on Long Island.

“He used to take me fishing,” his son said. “He tried to teach me a few things. He was always there for us. He was a great dad. We didn’t have a whole lot of money, and we couldn’t do a lot of fancy things, but it was a good life.”

Mr. Johnson worked part-time as a lobsterman for most of his life and kept his boat moored at Harbor de Grace.

“He loved lobstering,” Wood said. “When he could go out and sail around the bay and get a few lobsters – that was the best.”

Mr. Johnson had strong connections in the tight-knit island community. As a police officer, he looked out for his neighbors. In recent years, his neighbors looked out for him.

Hallett, who lives near the harbor, said Johnson drove there every day to sit by the water or go out to his boat.

“I watched him with my binoculars. I was always so afraid something would happen to him,” Hallett said.

Sharon Marr, who lived next door to Johnson, said he would sit at his kitchen table and read the newspaper and wave to people walking past his house.

“He was a good friend. He was a really good neighbor,” said Marr, who is wintering in Florida. “It will be a big change for me when we get back home. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was say goodbye to him.”

About four years ago, Mr. Johnson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Last summer, he developed cancer in his lung.

Friends and family say he put up a good fight.

“He lived four months longer than we thought he would,” Marr said. “He continued to get out every day and wave to people. He didn’t spent a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. He lived a good life. He lived a long life and he was content.”

Mr. Johnson’s full obituary will appear in Sunday’s newspaper.

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

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