Ronald Shepard, left, receives a plaque for his nine years on the Town Council from Councilor Lee Pratt.  Robert Lowell / American Journal

Ronald Shepard retired Tuesday after nine years on the Gorham Town Council.

“You go in and do the best you can do,” said Shepard, who most recently was vice chairman. He did not seek reelection this fall.

An avid town historian, Shepard, 75, was elected to the council in November 2014, the same day he retired as chief of the town’s Police Department, where he worked for 42 years. A U.S. Air Force veteran deployed to Thailand during the Vietnam War, he joined Gorham Police in 1972 and was appointed chief in 1995.

“You can definitely see Ron’s love for the town of Gorham through his years of service protecting citizens as an officer and police chief, his work with the historical society to preserve and celebrate the town’s history, and with his service as a policymaker on the Town Council,” Councilor Suzanne Phillips said before Tuesday’s meeting.

His three-term tenure included the COVID pandemic that consumed much of the council’s time.

“That took a lot of energy from the whole town,” he said.


In August, he favored sending a $49.9 million school budget compromise to a third referendum, ending a bitter, contentious struggle to approve a school spending plan.

“There’s always a hot topic,” he said.

Shepard said he has witnessed Gorham’s “tremendous” growth from a largely agricultural town with a population of 4,742 in 1950 to 18,361 in 2020. He recalled his younger days in his hometown and seeing four markets, two pharmacies and four restaurants all at the square in the village before businesses stretched out along Main Street.

He said the council “has done a marvelous job of steering the town in the right direction.”

Town Councilor Rob Lavoie praised Shepard’s work on the council.

“Thank you for your dedication to the town,” Lavoie said.

In his parting advice, Shepard urged the council members to be “respectful of each other, listen to other councilors and citizens.”

He will still remain a familiar figure around town and continue working at Plummer’s Hardware Store on Main Street. Shepard plans to spend more time with his wife, Debra, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, and family.

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