Steve Harlow wondered Thursday how his life might have been different if he had never known Paul Galipeau.

As one of the only English-only speakers at gatherings of his French Canadian extended family, Harlow gravitated to his cousin, who was a few years his senior and an athlete at Lewiston High School.

He found in Galipeau what everyone who met him did: a life of integrity and quite reflection that was worth emulating.

“If Paul hadn’t been there, I don’t know which direction my life would have gone in,” Harlow, of Saco, said Thursday. “You knew where you stood with Paul. He thought things through.”

Paul Galipeau, 62, of Warren, was killed Wednesday when the motorcycle he was riding on Route 3 in Vassalboro crashed into a camper trailer. Galipeau, who was pronounced dead at the scene, left behind a family that includes his wife, three sons and five grandchildren.

“I really have nobody in my life I can compare to Paul,” Harlow said. “There are a lot of things about him I really admired. I thought he got it pretty well.”

Friends and family on Thursday recalled a man of wisdom and rugged gentleness who loved the outdoors, could always find a reason to smile and who inspired others to be better by setting the example.

“He was a leader’s leader,” said Owen Maguire, district executive for the Boy Scouts’ Downeast District. Galipeau volunteered with the Scouts for more than 20 years, Maguire said. The district put Galipeau’s natural abilities to use by training volunteers how to be leaders to the Scouts.

“He made sure our adult leaders were properly trained and had the skills to teach the boys the skills we try to instill in our kids,” Maguire said. “He lived the Scouting values to the fullest.”

Maguire said all three of Galipeau’s children had been Scouts. He volunteered countless hours over the years toward helping the program succeed.

“He had a sereneness and calmness in any situation,” Maguire said. “His wisdom was unparalleled. He was thinking all the time and he always had a plan and was always willing to give advice when needed.”

Galipeau helped Scott Settlemire establish a Scouting troop in Warren about six years ago. The pair put in long hours setting up the program giving it momentum, but Galipeau always had a smile, regardless of how much sleep he and Settlemire had lost to excited Scouts on a camping trip.

“He just never stopped,” Settlemire said. “He was always looking for the next thing to do. If somebody needed help, he always did his best to pitch in.”

According to his Facebook page, Galipeau graduated from Lewiston High School in 1967 and graduated from Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences in New York in 1969.

Settlemire said Galipeau taught him patience and the value of listening.

Galipeau also loved the outdoors. At one time he raised huskies, Harlow said. After years in the design department at Bath Iron Works, Galipeau went to work as a self-employed farrier, shoeing horses.

“He was the definition of a cowboy,” Harlow said.

Galipeau also loved spending time on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which was “a beautiful, chromed-up Harley,” Settlemire said.

Police say Galipeau was riding that Harley west on Route 3 around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when he hit the camper being towed by an eastbound van driven by James Mitton, 82, of Merritt Island, Fla., as it made a left turn onto Stone Road.

Galipeau, who was not wearing a helmet, died at the scene, according to police. Neither Mitton nor his wife, a passenger in the van, was injured, according to Trooper John York, of the state police.

Speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash, police said, and no charges are anticipated.

“It’s a great loss to this town,” Settlemire said. “He was a great friend, and I’m going to really miss him.”

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