AUGUSTA — Jeff Gagnon grew up on Ballard Road.

That’s where he spent much of his life, until he was murdered in 1989.

Now the road in north Augusta off Old Belgrade Road, where his parents still live, could be named in his honor.

Gagnon, who worked for the city and was usher at St. Augustine Church, spent his formative years on Ballard Road, where he visited with neighbors and his grandparents, and where he gave his mother, Diane, five pine tree saplings to plant in her back yard.

The trees are gigantic now. Diane Gagnon said they serve as a tribute to the 25-year-old son she and her husband, Jim, lost, and help ease a pain the couple said never goes away.

Ward 3 Councilor Patrick Paradis is proposing another, more public, tribute. He wants to rename the road Jeff Gagnon Road. He approached the Gagnons about it, and they said it would be an honor for the road where their son spent so much of his life to carry his name.


“It would mean something special for both my husband and I,” Diane Gagnon said. “He had a connection with that road since he was born. We feel honored. We never realized something like that could happen.”

The proposal to rename the road is expected to go to councilors Thursday for a first reading of two readings required for an ordinance change.

“I think it would be good of the council to recognize the name,” Paradis said. “I knew this young man, because he was an usher for me at 11 o’clock Mass at St. Augustine for a number of years. He also worked for the city of Augusta. It was tragic his life was taken.”

The proposal to change the name of the road was initiated for practical purposes, too.

The short dead-end road is in north Augusta, on the west side of the Kennebec River.

On the other side of the river, off Eastern Avenue, some three miles away, is Ballard Street.


Fire Chief Roger Audette said having both a Ballard Road and Ballard Street in the same city can cause confusion when an emergency call comes in. He said public safety workers could be sent to the wrong address, costing valuable time when responding to an emergency.

He said the redundant street names were reviewed as part of an ongoing project looking to eliminate duplicative street names, and a city street naming committee will bring a list of other names that could be changed soon.

Paradis asked for the Ballard road names issue to be resolved before the rest.

He said he suggested the full name, not just Gagnon Road, because the city already has a Gagne Street, and he didn’t want to create a situation where the new road name was phonetically similar to another existing street name.

Paradis noted Ballard Road has only three residences, so it would be easier to change the name of that, instead of Ballard Street, where there are about a half-dozen residences.

Gagnon, 25, was shot in July 1989 in Canton and his body was found a year later. Danny McCluskie, formerly of Augusta, was convicted of murder in 1991.


The Gagnons helped found the Maine chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, a support group they said helped them through the ordeal of losing their son, and which gives them the opportunity to help other families who have had a loved one murdered.

This summer the group dedicated the Maine Murder Victims’ Memorial Monument at Holy Family Cemetery, on Townsend Road in Augusta, where Jeff Gagnon is also buried.

Last year, also at Paradis’ suggestion, the city renamed Fuller Street to Rancourt Street, to avoid redundancy with Fuller Road. It was named for the David Rancourt, an Augusta native and Androscoggin County sheriff’s deputy who suffered a fatal heart attack while diving in the Androscoggin River in 2006 while searching for evidence in a criminal case.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.