Paul Betit, a former longtime Portland Press Herald sports writer and published author, died Monday. He was 73.

Paul Betit, photographed in 2001, “was like an unstoppable force of nature,” said his former colleague Steve Solloway. Press Herald file photo by Jack Milton

Betit’s son, C.J. Betit, said his father died Monday morning at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Betit said his father had heart surgery last year.

Betit, who lived in Brunswick, began his journalism career at the The Kennebec Journal newspaper in the mid-70s as a police and general assignment reporter before moving into sports writing, said Steve Solloway, a former colleague and close friend.

Betit eventually joined the staff of the Portland Press Herald in 1985 and worked in the Brunswick bureau covering local sports. He eventually moved to the newspaper’s Portland office, where he covered the Portland Pirates American Hockey League team, high school soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse and local motor sports.

Betit grew up in Augusta, attended Cony High School, and graduated from the University of Maine Orono with a degree in journalism. He retired from the Press Herald in November 2013, according to his Facebook page.

“Paul had such a big heart, a big laugh and he just loved to tell stories,” Solloway, a former Press Herald sports writer, recalled. “He was like an unstoppable force of nature. He just kept powering ahead.”

Solloway said Betit was a skilled bridge player and liked to play golf.

Dan Hickling, a freelance sports writer, tweeted Monday about losing his friend.

“Heartbroken at the news of today’s passing of longtime friend Paul Betit. The Bman was a longtime hockey and wrestling writer, a novelist, and a novel personality. What a great friend. What a great life lived!” Hickling tweeted.

Fellow Press Herald sports writer Mike Lowe said he will miss his friend and colleague.

“Paul was one of those guys who every time you talked to him you left feeling good,” Lowe said. “He made you laugh, he made you smile, and he made you think about stuff.”

Lowe said that Betit was devoted to covering local and college sports.

“He made sure he covered every team on his beat. He was always there for his readers,” Lowe said.

During his time in the Press Herald’s Brunswick bureau, Betit would often work long hours to make sure that the Brunswick teams and Bowdoin college teams he wrote about received the coverage he felt they deserved.

The younger Betit worked with his father in the Press Herald sports department for a decade. Paul Betit is survived by his wife, Debbie, and another son, Chris Betit.

The date for a memorial service has not been finalized.

One of Betit’s passions was writing about his experiences in the Vietnam War. Betit served for four years as an intelligence analyst with the Army Security Agency. He earned letters of commendation for his work while serving tours of duty in South Vietnam and Ethiopia.

He authored three military crime novels featuring U.S. Army CID investigator John Murphy. Those novels, “Phu Bai,” “Kagnew Station” and “The Man In The Canal,” follow the adventures of Murphy during the Vietnam War era. He is also the author of “Let Me Tell A Story,” a mix of short fiction and memoir. Half of those stories take place in Maine, according to Betit’s website.

Betit’s list of celebrity interviews includes baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams, former Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, former President Jimmy Carter, NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers and Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee.”


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