WATERVILLE — Friends, family, colleagues and supporters of James “Jim” Lane gathered at the Harold Alfond Athletic Center at Thomas College on Sunday afternoon to say goodbye and celebrate the life of the longtime Fairfield fire captain who passed away due to complications from heart surgery on Aug. 9.

The 66-year-old Parkman resident graduated from Lawrence High School in 1972 and began his career in public service in 1974 when he started working with the Fairfield Fire Department under the CIDA program as the department’s first full-time emergency medical technician. Lane would go on to serve as a firefighter and EMT for more than 45 years.

Lane’s passion for helping others was what made him who he was according to his youngest daughter, Jen Gagnon, who spoke during the ceremony.

“Helping others wasn’t just what he did for a living, but it was who he was,” Gagnon said. “He always believed in doing the right thing … he loved to teach things that he was passionate about … he taught me so many important lessons.”

Jen went on to repeat a few of those important lessons.

“He taught us that life is short … appreciate the moments of joy … and when you fall off the horse, brush yourself off, wipe away the tears and get back on the saddle,” Gagnon said.

Among a long list of things Gagnon said she’d miss about her father, his presence is what can never be replaced now that he’s gone.

“Most of all I’ll miss your laugh and your smile when you’d see your grandchildren,” Gagnon said. “I promise that they will know who you are and I’ll share stories of my childhood with them.”

Fellow firefighters and public safety officers from Albion, Clinton, Fairfield, Farmingdale, Waterville, Winslow and beyond came to the celebration honoring the man many called a hometown hero.

Among these attendees was Stanley “Rusty” Bell, the police chief for the town of Clinton who knew Lane since he was 16-years old.

“This is just so sad,” Bell said. “I mean, he just went in for a routine procedure, and this happens. He was a good guy.”

After the Fairfield Fire Department opened the ceremony by marching in solidarity to the sound of a lone bagpipe and ringing a ceremonial bell, an unidentified colleague of Lane’s said a few words.

“Jim was always there. During tough or serious situations, he was always there, he was such a strong man,” he said. “Today it’s important that we recognize him and all he did … he will be missed by everyone he impacted … thank you Jim, for everything.”

After Lane’s colleague and daughter spoke, the family invited all in attendance to join them in celebrating his legacy and life over a meal.

Photos of Lane as well as his helmet and uniform were on display.

In Lane’s obituary, he is described as an avid outdoorsman who turned his hobby into a passion when he became a registered master Maine Guide in the 1980s.

Lane enjoyed traveling with his wife, Jeanette, barbecuing and most of all being a grandfather, or as they called him, “Papa,” to his seven grandchildren.

Lane’s obituary concludes by stating “Jim will be deeply missed by his family, brotherhood and the community that he spent his life serving. He will forever be a hero to many.”

Jim is survived by his wife, three children, three stepchildren, three sisters, a brother, and seven grandchildren.


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