WATERVILLE — Kenneth Eskelund, philanthropist, businessman, husband and father, did not want a funeral — he wanted a party.

And that’s what he will get Wednesday at a celebration of his life at the Alfond Youth Center, according to his son, Richard Eskelund, and Ken Walsh, the center’s chief executive officer.

Gov. Paul LePage is expected to attend Wednesday’s celebration, scheduled for 4-7 p.m. on the second floor of the Harold Alfond Library.

The event will include stories, food and music, according to Richard Eskelund.

“Dad did not want this to be a memorial service — he wanted to have a party where friends and family and business associates and others could come and have a great time and reminisce about him,” he said.

Most of all, Richard Eskelund asked that people bring with them a fond memory or special story to share with the group, and if they do not want to speak in public, they may write the story or remembrance on a piece of paper to be included in a scrapbook for Kenneth Eskelund’s wife, Shirley.

Kenneth Eskelund, of Winslow, died May 30 at 89. He was attending an Alfond Youth Center event and was rushed to Maine Medical Center in Portland where he suffered heart failure and died, Richard Eskelund said Monday.

Kenneth Eskelund gave to many causes over his lifetime, including the Alfond Youth Center, Maine Children’s Home, MaineGeneral Medical Center and United Way of Mid-Maine Inc.

He also received many awards from area charities and other organizations and established several businesses, including Maine Biological Laboratories and Northeast Laboratory Services, which provided dozens of jobs. He was a veterinarian who chose poultry medicine as a career.

At Wednesday’s celebration, refreshments will be served at 4 p.m. and Walsh will start the program around 5 p.m., Richard Eskelund said.

A slide show of the Eskelund family will be shown as remembrances are shared.

“They’ll be kind of playing behind anybody who wants to get up and talk,” he said.

Will Sennett, Cassidy Dangler and Erena Hriskos of the Waterville school group, Vocal Traction, will sing “Halleluja” by Leonard Cohen.

Walsh said that while the celebration is taking place, children who attend the Alfond Youth Center will take part in a talent show in the gymnasium and the Boys & Girls Club’s Glee Club will sing.

Guests may leave the library and walk to the balcony to watch the talent show and hear children sing, Walsh said.

“In the spirit of Ken, the energy level will be extremely high with youth activity, and this is something that was planned months ago,” he said. “There are going to be 180 kids in the gym. This is a great tribute to Ken for what he has done over the years for the community — in charity as well as in business.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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