A retired game warden who wrote a book about his experiences patrolling the Maine woods died Saturday after battling cancer.

John Ford Sr., who joined the Maine Warden Service in 1970, was 71. In addition to his service as a warden, Ford served two terms as Waldo County sheriff and was a wildlife artist and an award-winning newspaper columnist.

Ford lived in the Waldo County town of Brooks and worked as a game warden for 20 years.

His death was announced on social media by those who had known and worked with him.

“It is with tremendously heavy hearts that members of the Sheriff’s Office say goodbye to one of our own,” the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office said in a post Sunday on its Facebook page. “John Ford Sr. was a career Maine game warden, author of numerous books and articles, an amazing story teller, accomplished artist and our own Waldo County Sheriff from 1990 to 1998.”

Ford’s memoir was titled “Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good: Adventures of a Game Warden in Maine.” It was published in 2012 by Islandport Press, which described the book as “a collection of true tales, both humorous and serious, from the trenches of law enforcement.”

“It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that we announce John Ford Sr., a master storyteller and dynamic personal presence, lost his latest battle with cancer yesterday,” the Yarmouth-based book publishing company said in a post Sunday on its Facebook page. “John, an author, artist, game warden, sheriff, and Air Force veteran, lived a full and engaged life.”

“Among other traits, he possessed the remarkable ability to make friends in great numbers, even with some people he sent to jail,” Islandport Press wrote.

According to a 2012 profile of Ford in the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, he was persuaded to become a warden by his stepfather, who also served as a warden.

“When I put on a uniform and went out the door, it was like going to the movies,” Ford told the newspaper. “I knew I was in a for a show every day. Sometimes it was humorous, sometimes it was a horror movie.”

A graduate of Sanford High School, Ford was made an honorary Maine State Police trooper in 1984 and was named a Legendary Warden by his peers in 2000 for his efforts to halt night hunting.

Eventually he began writing a column about his adventures for the VillageSoup websites and newspapers, as well as the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His “Memories From a Game Warden’s Diary” won a first-place award for sports column in the 2007 Maine Better Newspaper Contest of the Maine Press Association.

“His quick wit, infectious laugh and smiling face will be forever remembered. Rest in peace, old friend, we have the watch from here!” the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office wrote on its Facebook post.

 

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