Lawrence “Max” Dawson passed away unexpectedly on Friday. Photo courtesy of Bath Police Department

BATH — Retired Bath Police Chief Lawrence “Max” Dawson, 67, passed away unexpectedly at his Phippsburg home on Friday, Nov. 27.

According to a statement from the Bath Police Department, Dawson started his career with the Bath Police Department in 1974 and became chief of police in 1987.

He retired in 1998 and became the director of the Sagadahoc County Communications Center and Emergency Management. He later served as Sagadahoc County Commissioner from 2007 to 2017.

His colleagues remember him as a gentle, kind person who dedicated his life to serving the public.

“Max was easygoing and like anyone else he had a soft side and a stern side,” said Joel Merry, Sagadahoc County sheriff, who worked with Dawson for 29 years. “He was approachable, friendly and a pleasure to converse with him.”

When Merry was 21, he was hired as a Bath police officer, but hadn’t found an apartment yet. Without a second thought, Dawson allowed him to stay with him until he could find a place to live. Merry said that action alone exemplifies Dawson’s personality and willingness to help others.

Merry said Dawson lived his life by two sayings: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and “Steady as it goes.”

“He was just a steady guy,” Merry said. “He was so far from a micromanager. He would give you opportunities and the chance to take on responsibilities.”

Bath’s current chief, Michael Field, was hired by Dawson, with whom he worked for nine years.

“He was a direct person and you knew where you stood with him, but he was also a humble, kind, gentle man and I’m glad I had the opportunity to know him,” said Field. “I used to joke that when you got called to the chief’s office it was like getting called to the principal’s office in school.”

Outside of work, Field said Dawson loved to sail, was a woodworker and remained involved in the community after he retired. Field said he was involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and Success by 6, an early education program organized by the United Way.

“To still have that much influence on the community after retiring, you know he made a lasting impression on so many people,” said Field.

Dawson was born in New York and moved to York County when he was 12-years-old. He graduated from Thornton Academy in Saco, and then the University of Maine in Orono.

He’s survived by his wife, Holly Dawson, a former Bath police detective.

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