Tom Bayley was an avid outdoorsman, but family members say the recently deceased owner of a well-known Scarborough campground was passionate about fishing. FILE

Family and friends are mourning the loss of Scarborough native and popular campground owner Thomas R. Bayley, 61, who died June 27 after a yearlong battle with cancer.

“Very humorous, hilarious, hard, hard worker,” his sister, Julie Bayley, said when asked to describe her brother.

Bayley was known for owning and operating Bayley’s Camping Resort, the well-known vacation spot in Scarborough. Those who knew him mentioned his generosity and humility, especially during an incident decades ago when he saved the lives of five men at sea.

Julie Bayley noted that he enjoyed hunting and the outdoors, but fishing had always been a passion of his.

“He loved to fish,” she said. “Every kind of fishing that there was.”

Dennis Violette, a Scarborough-based lobster fishermen for the past 40 years, can attest to that. He grew up with Bayley, and said they, like most kids living on Pine Point at the time, developed an interest in the sea at a young age.

“We dug clams, we caught lobsters,” Violette said.

Even as teenagers, Violette said, he remembered Bayley pulling traps on 17-foot lobster skiffs, and he even ran a clam-digging crew. Violette said he remembered serving as a crewman on Bayley’s scallop boat back in 1980, when both men were in their 20s.

Overall, Violette said he had fond memories of his childhood friend, who enjoyed playing Little League baseball and soccer. He described Bayley as “just one of the guys.”

In more recent years, Bayley became better known for working at and eventually running Bayley’s Camping Resort, the Pine Point-based family business started by his father, Fred W. Bayley, who died in February 2021.

Tom’s mother, Kathleen Bayley, said her son worked on the campground in his youth, but gave up commercial fishing and came back on a full-time basis as an adult after starting a family of his own.

“Having two children and being at sea, I think he missed being home,” she said.

Julie Bayley said her brother, along with his wife, Jamie, and his two children, Gaelan and Ashley, have all worked at the campground with him. Jamie and Gaelan still work there today.

Julie Bayley said Thomas had a deep interest in supporting local veterans. Every year, she said, he organized a fundraiser at the campground for the Scarborough Veterans’ Home, and regularly arranged fishing trips for local veterans at his parents’ property.

“He just had a great respect for people who were in the service,” Julie Bayley said.

Kathleen Bayley also noted her son’s commitment to helping local veterans.

“He just thought, ‘Where would we be without them?'” she said.

Kathleen Bayley said her son was a strong and selfless man, not even eager to take credit for saving five lives at sea when the F/V Robert Powell sank in a storm. According to Bayley’s obituary, many of the details have been lost with time, including the date of the incident, but the U.S. Coast Guard would eventually award him the Gold Life Saving Medal for his heroism.

But on the night of the sinking he said nothing about it.

“He didn’t tell me,” Kathleen said. “He went back out fishing.”

Tom’s wife, Jamie, said the incident points to Tom’s typical humility and generosity.

“To him, it was something he would have done for anyone,” she said.

Even on land, Tom’s generosity was obvious. Jamie Bayley said he often helped out campers at the family campground who were less fortunate, such as one family who visited the campground every summer for years and enjoyed sitting by a fire at night but had trouble buying enough wood.

“He would always get them a truckload of wood,” Jamie said.

A celebration of Tom and his father Fred’s life will be held Sept. 26 at Bayley’s Camping Resort. More details will be announced by Bibber Memorial Chapel, Kennebunk.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, visit Tom’s Book of Memories Page at bibberfuneral.com.

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