SKOWHEGAN — Samuel Kirby Hight lived on the same street in Skowhegan for 102 years until he died March 11, surrounded by his loving family.

Along the way, Kirby, as he was known, helped grow the family automobile dealerships founded by his father, Walter Hight Sr., while supporting Little League teams, one-act play competitions, high school sports teams and yearbooks, according to his obituary.

He graduated from Bowdoin College and joined the Navy in World War II, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He was commissioned as an ensign and rose through the ranks to lieutenant commander. He was captain of the destroyer USS Babbitt, stationed in the North Atlantic.

Hight personified the Greatest Generation, according to the obituary.

This month the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to dedicate the 2017 annual report to Hight, heading into Town Meeting in June.

“He did a lot for the town over the years,” said Paul York, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, who suggested the dedication. “He was a great man, absolutely. It was just the right thing to do. They’ve done a lot for the town, and they’ve been around for a long time. He’s what it’s all about. They take something and they run with it and make something of it.”


Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand said it was a “great decision.”

“I believe that the selectmen made an excellent choice by selecting Kirby Hight for the town report’s dedication,” she said. “Kirby was an accomplished businessman and a remarkable citizen. He had outstanding dedication, as he served our country and the town of Skowhegan in so many ways.”

Born in Skowhegan on Jan. 27, 1916, Kirby graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1934 and Bowdoin College in 1938.

Upon graduation, Kirby returned to Skowhegan and joined his father, Walter Sr., in the automobile business. Today that car business is 107 years old and is one of the oldest franchised dealerships in the United States.

The Hight business includes four dealerships in the fourth generation of operation. In 1983, in recognition of his many accomplishments, Time magazine named Hight the Maine Quality Dealer of the Year for business achievement and community service.

Hight’s son, Walter H. Hight, said his father was a family man and a businessman, and the dedication means a lot to him.


“That’s very, very nice of them,” Walter Hight said of the board vote. “He’s given to every organization in town for years and years and years — kids’ organizations, sporting events — everything.”

Kirby Hight was past president and longtime director of the Skowhegan State Fair; past president and former trustee of Redington-Fairview General Hospital; a member of Skowhegan Rotary, Masons and Elks; and an Honorary Trustee of Somerset Woods.

“He’s just been an upright citizen for the town of Skowhegan for 102 years,” Walter Hight said. “He lived on the same street for 102 years. Can you imagine that? Dyer Street — he was born on it and died on it. He never lived anywhere else, except when he was in the North Atlantic during World War II, but other than that, his whole life.”

He was the Hight family patriarch.

Kirby Hight and his wife, the former Grace Jack, were married for 68 years. They started a scholarship at Skowhegan Area High School for graduating seniors pursuing post-secondary education.

“He had a personality larger than life with a heart just as big,” his obituary reads. “His sense of humor, great business sense, kindness and concern, coupled with his love of family and Skowhegan and its people will be missed by all who knew him.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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