FARMINGTON — The 55-year-old man who was killed by a bull on Friday worked with cattle his entire life, was devoted to his family and hitchhiked across the United States twice when he was younger.

Ernest Bubar, of New Sharon, will be remembered as a “high-spirited, loving” person, said his oldest brother, Roger, of Industry, on Saturday.

Bubar was pinned to the ground by a bull at Sandy River Farms in Farmington on Friday morning after he tried to herd the animal back to the farm. He was taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington where he died of his injuries.

“He was always happy and joyful,” Roger Bubar said. “He was just very proud of his family — loved friends and family.”

Ernest Bubar — called Ernie by those who knew him — grew up on his family’s farm in St. Albans, worked on several dairy farms in Maine and spent the last 12 years milking cows at the farm in Farmington, where he reported for work at 3 a.m., his brother said.

“It was just a tragic accident,” Roger Bubar said.

Early Friday, Ernest Bubar noticed a bull was in the wrong pasture and tried to get it back by himself. The animal hit him and pinned him to the ground, according to a statement from the farm, owned by L. Herbert York and his wife, Brenda.

Bubar used his cell phone to call other workers in the barn for help, and they secured the bull. Paramedics moved Bubar into an ambulance.

The last thing they heard him say, according to his brother, Stephen Bubar, was, “It was a beautiful day.”

The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office is examining Ernest Bubar’s body, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, since the accident happened while Bubar was at work, Officer Wayne Drake, with the Farmington Police Department, said.

The Holstein bull received “swift barnyard justice,” Drake said. It was sold to a cattle dealer who will bring it to a slaughterhouse.

“It was off the farm as of (Friday) morning, heading for that end result,” he said.

Bubar’s injuries were “consistent with a very, very, very large animal trampling him,” Drake said. “There were just severe internal injuries.”

The accident is unfortunate for everyone involved, he said, including Bubar’s family and the farm, which he described as having a “great” reputation.

“It’s been tough for everybody,” he said.

Erik Johnson, manager of the farm, said it was difficult to keep working and the accident left him numb. “The sad thing is you still have to operate,” he said. “You’ve got to keep going.”

Ernest Bubar essentially had three families, said his brother, Roger. He considered the people at the farm his family; then there were his six stepchildren, his three grandchildren, and his wife of 17 years, Maureen Bubar, 44, who is known as Peach; and his parents, Wendell and Marjorie (McDougal) Bubar, of St. Albans, their children, 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Ernest Bubar enjoyed hunting and spending time at the family’s hunting camp in Hartland, Roger Bubar said. He liked it so much, he kept two pictures of the camp on his cell phone.

His immediate and extended family spent a lot of time together growing up on a farm that raised Guernsey dairy cows.

“He was just proud to be a McDougal,” Roger Bubar said.

Both the McDougals, his mother’s family, and the Bubars, are well known in the area.

He graduated from Nokomis Regional High School in Newport in 1975, then hitchhiked twice across the U.S. “just for fun,” his brother said.

Deaths caused by bulls and cows are rare in both Maine and the U.S., with most happening in Western states.

Of the 2,334 deaths that occurred during the production of crops and animals in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007, just 5 percent, or 108, involved cattle as either the primary or secondary cause, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s a yearly average of about 22 deaths caused by cattle.

Of the 4,551 fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2009, just 19 occurred in Maine, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agriculture, fishing, hunting and forestry sector had the highest rate of work-related deaths.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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