John M. Durgin, obituary

Posted:  Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 3:30pm

THOMASTON — John Michael Durgin, 81, began his eternal life with the Lord on Feb. 1, 2017, from home, surrounded by his loving family and care givers.

Born Aug. 18, 1935, in North Conway, N.H., he was the son of Mary Ellen Galvin and Clarence Arthur Durgin. John traveled as a youngster with his family, finally settling and graduating from Kennebunk High School in 1954. John joined the U.S. Army, stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he met and married the love of his life, Nannina Lincoln. After the Army, the couple settled in Connecticut. After four years commuting to jobs in New York, John brought his family back to Kennebunk, for 24 years.

John was a renaissance man. He had many interests and wanted to try new things, so he had various careers and opened numerous businesses. They included sales and management in the automotive industry, hospitality, business forms, teaching and pastoring.

John and Nina co-owned the long dormant Breakwater Inn in Kennebunkport with the Lamberts. He opened Downeast Auto Brokers, and Durgin Business Forms. Forever young at heart, he enjoyed working with children, such as leading the Christ Church youth group in Kennebunk, local Junior Achievement classes and Odyssey of the Mind teams. He loved assisting Santa Claus from his college days, at school and church fairs until a few years ago. John enjoyed the English language and its proper use. He wrote poems, a children's book and a news page with local church happenings in the Kennebunk's. He enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, especially with his caregivers. His Irish heritage was evident by his constant practical jokes, often played on family members, and the shaggy dog stories and jokes he collected and repeated, and repeated...

Never one to stop learning, John went back to school at 55 for a master’s degree in teaching from Lesley College in Boston, Mass. He taught in Winchester, VA. He and Nina returned to Maine, settling in Thomaston, teaching locally at D. R. Gaul, Pen Bay Christian and Georges Valley schools. Mr. "D," as he was fondly known to his students, treated all the students with respect and they returned it. He cheered his students on at sporting events and encouraged them through their life challenges. They knew they could talk to Mr. D. He listened to and loved them.

At the age of 60, John experienced two life-changing events. He attended a Christian Tres Dias weekend, and soon afterward, he joined the Kairos Prison Ministry as a volunteer in the Warren Prison for 10 years. This led him to study for the ministry and become a licensed pastor. John used his teaching aptitude and pastoral leadership to bring Christ to the inmates of the Knox County Jail through counseling, Bible studies, and worship services. John was recognized by the Knox County Sheriff’s Department with a Citizen of the Year award for his years of volunteering and service. He also pastored at The Nobleboro Baptist Church, Christ Church in Damariscotta and was chaplain at Coves Edge Long Term Care Facility.

John saw the need for after-incarceration care and, with others, founded Penobscot Bay Ministries, dedicated to reintegrate former incarcerated individuals into the community. PBM was his passion and probably one of the things of which he was most proud, and this mission continues today.

John believed faith was a verb and showed it by being active in the churches he attended, participating on committees, councils and in Bible studies. His wonderful bass voice was an integral part of church choirs in every community where he and Nina lived.

John had the unique ability to engage every person he met in conversation – waitress, toll collector, gas station attendant, and they remembered him. He shared Christ with those he met and was a man who walked the walk. He never met a person that he did not treat as a true friend and many became life-long ones.

He will be greeted in heaven by his eldest daughter, Lisa Kathleen Durgin; his parents; and his sister, Carole Ann Durgin Greeley.

He leaves behind his loving wife, Nina; his brother-in law, George Greeley; his son-in-law, Robert Conn; his daughters, Lorilee Durgin Reuillard and her husband, Mark,  and Shawna Durgin Helman and her husband, Douglas; five grandchildren, Nicholas Reuillard and his fiancé, Hannah, Alexander Reuillard and his wife, Dani, Spencer Reuillard and his girlfriend, Andrea, and Nicholas and Molly Helman; and his great-grandchildren, Maya and Oliver. He also leaves his nieces, Michelle Lincoln King and her husband, Steve, and Ann Marie Catarano Mustapha and her husband, Morgan; his nephew, Matthew Lincoln and his children, Michael, Travis and Emma; as well as many beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins from Millinocket, Fryberg and southern Maine.

The family would like to thank his caring angels, Breezy DuBay and Andrew Barnes; and all the wonderful caregivers from Ask for Home Care and Maine Health Care at Home Hospice.

Friends and family are invited to visit Saturday, Feb. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St. in Rockland. A celebration of John's life will be held Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. at Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock St. in Rockland. A reception will follow at the church parish hall. At John's request, his ashes will be scattered at sea in the spring.

Memorial donations may be made in John's name to either Penobscot Bay Ministry, 267 Main Street, Thomaston ME 04861; Kairos Prison Ministry, P.O. Box 578, Auburn ME 04215, or your place of worship.