NORWAY — The town of Norway boasts a main street that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a fine smallmouth bass fishery in Pennesseewassee Lake and a spirited mile-long Halloween festival. Still, Norway is probably best known to most as a stop on the way to the Sunday River ski area or the White Mountain National Forest.

But two weeks ago this community of 5,000 showed there’s more here. As temperatures dropped into single digits, the town’s outdoor rink was christened the Bruce Fox Memorial Ice Rink. And nearly 80 came out to remember a person they described as a giving man.

Bruce Fox died Oct. 30 at age 64, just a few weeks after the town’s rink liner was rolled out, and after more than a dozen years of volunteering as the town’s rink keeper.

“It’s so fitting it’s so cold. He always wanted it cold because the ice sets up better then,” said Debra Partridge, Norway’s recreation department director, at the tribute.

Maintaining the 50-by-110-foot rink was Fox’s personal mission, as he cleared it of snow and smoothed the surface.

“I thought he was nuts,” said Fox’s widow, Nancy Maglione-Fox, who sometimes accompanied him to the rink. “He’d get the fire hose from the fire house. Hook it to that fire hydrant. He had a special rig with a man-pushed Zamboni.”


The town’s stories of the rink caretaker became legendary. Partridge said Fox wanted to have the rink set up by Christmas every year. Then he would tend to it over the next 12 weeks so children could get in as much skating time as possible, going to check on the rink or repair it as many as four times a week.

“He always paid attention to public skate times. He would constantly check on it,” Partridge said.

To the locals who knew Fox or saw him making ice, he was a symbol of their community.

“I worked with him for 30 years. He had a heart of gold. He was precious,” said Joel Pulkkinen, who worked with Fox at Maine Machine Products Company in South Paris.

Pulkkinen didn’t skate or have family who used the rink. But he came out in the cold on Feb. 13, like many others, to honor Fox.

Oxford Hills eighth-grader Denali Barker didn’t know Fox but she also came to the dedication.


Barker volunteers in the town’s recreation program by teaching children to skate, and she would see Fox come by to inspect the ice.

“It’s a lot of work. It’s not like it’s a small rink,” Barker said.

To some, the extent of Fox’s devotion was strange.

“I remember him saying he had to get up in the middle of the night. He said he wanted to give the kids a fun, safe place to play. And I said you’re foolish because I wouldn’t have gotten up in the middle of the night,” said Kathy Jellison, 52, who also worked with Fox at Maine Machine.

But Jellison also admired Fox.

“I’m only here in his memory. He just wanted to see people using the rink. He was always doing things for other people,” Jellison said as she skated slowly in circles.


To the man who has taken over Fox’s volunteer work, the winter’s task is clearing and keeping the ice rink smooth.

Chuck Truman helped Fox make ice at the rink the past five years, after his friend asked for help. When the town lost its ice maker, Truman said he’d do the work for Fox.

Truman sees the work of maintaining the rink as a way to honor his friend.

“I worked with him at Maine Machine. Over the years we got to be friends. And he said one day at work, ‘Could I give him a hand making the rink?’ I said, ‘All you had to do was ask,’ ” said Truman, 44.

“Bruce wasn’t old enough to be a father to me, but he was like a father figure.”


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