Craig Wilson Photo courtesy of Wilson family

Craig Wilson, a longtime greenskeeper at Nonesuch River Golf Course who devoted his life to his family, died Sunday after a period of declining health. He was 72.

He was remembered by his family Tuesday as a kind and compassionate man who loved life.

“He was nothing but a big cream puff. Really, I swear to God,” said his wife, Sharon Wilson of Scarborough. “He was wonderful. I was so blessed to have him for 20 years.”

In his early years, Mr. Wilson lived in Bangor and spent summers working on the family farm in Vassalboro. He graduated from Bangor High School in 1965 and went to work for Maine Central Railroad.

He was based at Portland’s Union Station and rose through the ranks to become chief train dispatcher, transferring to Billerica, Massachusetts, in the mid-1980s and retiring in 1996.

“He loved the job for sure,” said his stepson, John Harmon of Scarborough.

In the 1980s, Mr. Wilson was a dispatcher for Scarborough and served as captain of the former Black Point Hose Company.

In recent years, Mr. Wilson worked as a greenskeeper at Nonesuch River Golf Course. There, he mowed the fairways, the greens and operated the heavy equipment. In early August, he stopped working because of health issues.

“He loved the work,” Harmon said. “He liked the guys he worked with. He loved everyone he met.”

Though his work was an important part of his life, nothing topped his love for family.

He was a loving father, stepfather and “Papa” to nine grandchildren. He was remembered by his children this week as a sweet man, who was there for his kids when they needed him. He loved his grandchildren immensely. A week before he died, Mr. Wilson went to cheer on his 5-year-old grandson at a soccer game.

“He was an excellent father,” his wife said. “To those kids, he was the perfect father. He was perfect. He couldn’t have loved his kids more or mine for that matter. My kids love him. He was sweet and kind and compassionate and caring. …He was wonderful.”

Harmon reminisced Wednesday about the times he went hunting with his stepfather, saying Wilson had a passion for deer hunting and fishing, and taught him to hunt.

“It was wonderful,” Harmon said, reflecting on the time they spent together. “It’s hard to put into words. It’s time you wish you could have back for sure. We were very close. He wasn’t my true dad, but he never treated me differently. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have one dad. I have two.”

Mr. Wilson and his wife lived in Standish for 18 years before moving to Scarborough  a couple of years ago. His wife said he struggled with health issues over the past year, but he always seemed to bounce back.

“No one deserves to suffer like he did, but he wouldn’t quit. He wouldn’t stop fighting,” his wife said. “I never met anyone like him. He was my best friend. He was my partner. I knew he always had my back, always. I’m going to miss his gentleness and his kindness.”

She started to cry, then stopped herself.

“I’m happy for him because he made it through. That’s all I wanted,” she said.

Family and friends will gather to mourn and honor Mr. Wilson from 4-7 p.m. Friday at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Rd. in South Portland.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, followed by a burial at Blackpoint Cemetery in Scarborough.

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