SOUTH THOMASTON – Kevin P. Waters, 62, heart and soul of Penobscot Island Air, died unexpectedly, with his loving wife, Terry, at his side.
Kevin was born on November 13, 1957 in Mt. Holly, and died on July 5, 2020 in South Thomaston, Maine. In between those times, he did a lot, lived life to the fullest and touched the lives of many people. As Sean Michaud, one of Penobscot Island Air’s pilots stated in the Facebook post announcing Kevin’s passing “Some say there are angels among us, that they were put here to make our lives better…to show us what love and compassion are truly about. If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, heaven took one home last night.”
Growing up in North Hampton, New Hampshire, he graduated from Winnicunnett High School in 1975. Kevin’s love for sports included participation in varsity football and hockey. Hockey was his passion. He fondly spoke of his father, with a car full of his hockey teammates, driving to early morning weekday practices. Ice times were limited, often with practices held between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. No other parent would volunteer for this early morning transportation. Kevin cherished those special times spent with his father.
Shortly after graduation, the mountains of Lincoln, New Hampshire and Loon Mountain became home. Kevin’scareer at Loon Mountain began in snow making, and he soon became a member of the Ski Patrol. The friendships made at Loon Mountain remained very important to Kevin throughout his entire life. Not only did he cherish those friends but had some of the most far-fetched stories of antics that seemed to occur on a regular basis, Kevin loved those days!
It was during that time period that Kevin joined the Coast Guard full time. Key West, Boothbay Harbor and Woods Hole were duty stations for Kevin. The Grenada Conflict provided a back drop for some of the “most colorful” stories imaginable. Kevin was as comfortable on the water as he was in the air. Kevin served a total of eight years in the Coast Guard.
After an Honorable Discharge from the Coast Guard, Kevin’s passion for flying took him to flight school in Greeley, Colorado. It was there he earned his multiple engine, instrument and helicopter rating. Kevin loved flying out West but his heart was in New England. Upon graduation, Kevin and his father drove back to New England together. Kevin often spoke about how wonderful it was to spend this time with his Dad, reminiscing about his father’s days in the Secret Service’s White House Detail serving under Truman, Eisenhower and FDR. Kevin’s pride and support of those who serve our communities and country was strongly impacted by his Dad’s pride and faith in America.
On June 26, 1993, Kevin married Terry Sinclair at the Children’s Chapel in Rockport. Terry was a nurse he had met years earlier while stationed in Boothbay Harbor. They recently celebrated their 27th anniversary.
Kevin’s early career in aviation included positions with Atlantic North and Colgan Airlines but it was mid coast Maine that tugged at his heart strings. In 1998, Kevin joined Clint Demons of Penobscot Air, as a line pilot. The business changed hands several times over the next few years, with the last owner abruptly suspending air service several days before Christmas in 2003. Kevin immediately began steps to obtain the necessary FAA documentation, insurance paperwork and rental of an aircraft with the goal of beginning operations as a single pilot operator. None of this would have been possible without the $17,000 collection initiated on Matinicus. The money was dropped off to Kevin and Terry’s house in a brown paper bag, no questions asked. As the saying goes, the rest is history!
Since the early days of Penobscot Island Air the company has grown significantly. Kevin truly loved his crew and the customers that he served. They were family. “You count and don’t forget it”, Kevin made everyone feel special, and he truly cared. It didn’t matter who you were, you were important. Kevin’s actions always spoke just as loud as his words. There was no bias, no double meanings, no thought of ‘what’s in it for me?’…Kevin’s heart was bigger than the bay”, as one article several years ago stated. Kevin was just the “real deal”.
Someone recently asked “How can a small company that just moves people, boxes, mail and groceries in banana boxes from one location to another be so special? The response: “I don’t know but ask anyone who has spent any time around Kevin and his crew, maybe they can tell you what the magic is.” Kind of strange today with all of the craziness, anger and hatred in the world, to think that one small company that was started “on a shoe string” could have such a positive impact on a people. Kindness, honesty, respect, trust…maybe a combination…
As Sean Michaud stated in a Facebook post, “He (Kevin) will be missed no doubt…but he will be a part of everything we do at PIA. He will be on every flight, overseeing every boat operation, mingling amongst all of you as you board your next flight and in every one of our deliveries — watching over us. I know this as strongly as I know the sun will rise tomorrow. Rest easy Boatswain, we have the watch…you are relieved of your earthly duties; there are bigger plans for you now.”
Kevin leaves his wife, Terry; sister-in-law, Sally Sinclair who had a very special spot in Kevin’s heart; his beloved black lab Annie and Mattie; Sally’s blond lab; as well as the entire crew at Penobscot Island Air; his extended Knox County family and many, many cherished friends. Kevin will be truly missed by Anne Sinclair and all of the Sinclair children and grandchildren.
Kevin was predeceased by his parents, Edmund and Karleen Waters.
Kevin is survived by his two brothers, Edmund and Bruce and the families.
A Celebration of Kevin’s life will be held Sunday, July 19, 2020, at 11 a.m., at the Down East Air Hangar at Knox County Airport.
To share memory of Kevin with his family, please visit his Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.