On a mild afternoon in November 2016, Leon Gerrish sat with his wife, Charlene, on their porch at home in Scarborough.

Mr. Gerrish held his wife as a hat shielded the sun from his eyes. She wrapped her arms around him, leaning into his shoulder while enjoying a moment of peace together. A tear streamed down her cheek.

Their daughter Amy Levy of Fairfax, Virginia, captured the moving photo.

“His job in that moment was comforting her,” Levy said, noting that at the time her father was recovering from a bad fall.

“It’s such a beautiful picture because that was their thing. It’s just love,” said another daughter, Melissa Gerrish of Saco. “It was kind of their mantra. They definitely had their ups and downs, but love always brought them through.”

Mr. Gerrish, a former physician assistant and substance abuse counselor, died on Dec. 18 after a period of declining health. He was 77.

Mr. Gerrish was remembered by his daughters as a dedicated family man, whose mission was to make a difference in people’s lives.

“He was always in the helping profession,” Melissa Gerrish said. “He was always willing to lend a hand … always trying to help people figure things out. He wanted to make anyone’s lives better or richer in any way he could.”

Mr. Gerrish, a 1959 graduate of Gorham High School, joined the Air Force, where he received extensive medical training. He was honorably discharged in 1963 and put his training to use in the emergency room and the operating room at the former Osteopathic Hospital of Maine.

Mr. Gerrish joined a private medical practice in Portland around 1972. A decade later, he pursued a career in addiction medicine. He was a physician assistant, substance abuse counselor, and hypnosis specialist at the former Westbrook Community Hospital.

By 1986, Mr. Gerrish was ready for a change. He bought and managed the former Sebago Scales Co. in Windham. He later joined C.N. Brown Co. as a manager.

“It was an interesting change of pace for him,” Melissa Gerrish said.

He was married to Charlene Gerrish, who survives him, for 52 years. The couple met in 1964 at the Osteopathic Hospital in Portland.

They lived in Scarborough, where they raised four children. He also had two children from a previous marriage.

Melissa Gerrish said her parents shared a good life together. They rode motorcycles, traveled and went on cruises. They had slowed down over the past 10 years or so because of his health issues.

Levy recalled a time when she helped her father renovate an old farmhouse. She said he loved being outdoors and going for walks on his property to look at birds and ducks. He was also an expert marksman with a passion for hunting and fishing, she said.

“He loved the quiet and solitude,” Levy said. “He didn’t think twice about being gone long periods of time. He liked his alone time.”

Mr. Gerrish was a fixture at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway throughout his life. His daughters said he helped build and fix cars. In recent years, he was known to help and sponsor young drivers.

In 1992, Mr. Gerrish suffered a series of strokes that left him physically disabled. He walked with a cane for many years. He also struggled with heart issues.

Melissa Gerrish said she was inspired by her father’s perseverance and determination.

“I’m very proud of him. I’m very proud to call him my dad,” she said.

 

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