WATERVILLE — Former Waterville Mayor and longtime Thomas College professor Nelson Madore died on Christmas Eve, the college and other sources confirmed. He was 77.

Madore, a Democrat, served as Waterville’s mayor from 1999-2004. He was a longtime faculty member at Thomas College, where he served as a professor for 40 years. Madore taught a variety of subjects, mostly in history, geography and government, but also in sociology, anthropology, foreign language and ethics.

A 2015 Thomas College story about Madore described him as “totally engrained in Thomas College’s past and present” and a “Thomas institution.” The college established the Dr. Nelson Madore Scholarship Fund in his honor. Madore also advised Thomas’ student senate, judicial review board, Neuman club and 21 senior classes. He earned prestigious honors, including an Outstand Educator in America nod in 1971.

Roberta Tibbetts and her husband, David, were taught by Madore at Thomas College and Roberta later taught with Madore at Thomas. They were neighbors in Waterville. He was best man at their wedding.

“He was certainly very jovial,” Roberta Tibbetts said. “He was a gentle giant.”

“Nelson was the epitome of a public servant, having served as the mayor, and for many years, on the school board,” Waterville City Manager Mike Roy said. “He was really a force in municipal affairs, and was very much a part of keeping Waterville on track for prosperity.” 

Madore was a U.S. Army veteran. He also served 18 years on the Waterville Board of Education, including 12 as chairman; on the State of Maine Ethics and Election Practice Commission; and the Governance Board of the Waterville Regional Vocational Center.

“He brought a very calming effect to the administration as mayor, and I enjoyed learning how a meeting was supposed to be conducted using Robert’s Rules,” said former Waterville Mayor Dana Sennett, who served in 2011. “(Madore) was admired by very many of his students, but also the administration that he was working with at the time.”

Before his tenure at Thomas College, Madore received a bachelor’s degree history and government in 1966 and a master’s degree in history in 1967 from the University of Maine at Orono. Later, Madore received a doctorate in education and educational administration from Vanderbilt University in 1982. He taught two years at Penquis Valley High School in Milo before joining the Thomas faculty.

“Dr. Nelson Madore was an icon at Thomas College,” Betty-Jane Meader, a former Thomas colleague, wrote in an email. “His students adored him; he was a kind and caring professor. Nelson was well respected and admired by his colleagues.”

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