Wayne Buhelt, a retired sergeant with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office who supervised court security for many years, died Saturday after a period of declining health. He was 80.

Mr. Buhelt began his career in law enforcement in the mid-1960s after surviving a car accident that led him to meet the late Maine State Trooper Richard Johnson. The trooper inspired Buhelt, who went on to become a reserve officer for the Maine State Police.

Mr. Buhelt served as a patrol officer for the Falmouth and Cumberland police departments. His daughter Rhonda Small said he worked long hours, and she recalled the times he responded to calls for service on Chebeague Island.

In the mid-1970s, Mr. Buhelt joined the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol officer. He also worked at the Cumberland County Courthouse, providing security for judges, attorneys and the public.

Small said her father loved his work.

“He loved the social aspect and professionalism,” she said. “He respected the law. He got great joy out of knowing that he was setting a good example for his kids and our family.”

Soon after retiring from the sheriff’s office, Mr. Buhelt began working as a judicial marshal with the State of Maine Judicial Branch. He worked at district and superior courts in Cumberland and York Counties, and retired from law enforcement in 2010.

He was a loving husband to Loretta Buhelt for more than 40 years. She died in 2003. The couple raised three children.

Small remembered him Tuesday as a loving but stern father who had high expectations for them.

“He was very strict with us,” she said. “My parents did a fantastic job keeping us on the straight and narrow.”

In his early years, Mr. Buhelt coached a Senior Little League team.

“When he got out of the courthouse, he would race to Cumberland and pull the gear bag out of his car and coach,” Small said. “He was such an avid Red Sox fan. If the Red Sox were on, he was all over it.”

Mr. Buhelt’s health began to decline on Christmas Eve. His daughter said he had advanced lung disease, Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure.

“I’ll miss him calling me,” she said, choking up. “Saying, ‘Hey Rhon, how about some fried haddock?’ ”

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

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