Leonard E. Bickford Sr., 88
CASCO — Leonard “Lennie” Edward Bickford Sr., 88, died on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
Lennie was born in Brookton, the son of the late Calvin F. and Phyllis (Clough) Bickford Sr. He was the oldest of seven children.
In his early teens, he and his brother Calvin (“Buddy”) went off to work to help their parents financially with the five younger siblings. Many adventures ensued, and these adventures helped to build who they grew up to be.
In the summer of 1943, while they were hanging out in Old Orchard Beach, Lennie met the love of his life, Dorothy Jean McFarland. He was 15, she was 16.
He was a professional boxer who fought at the Expo in Portland, with 34 fights: won 25, lost six, draw three, with 11 KOs. He was so well-known that in April 1946, the Portland Press Herald announced his enlistment into the U.S. Navy with a full article and picture. He kept that article all these years!
He continued his boxing career in the U.S. Navy, where he served at the end of World War II and also served in the Korean War. Once honorably discharged from the military, he started his career at the United States Postal Service as a mail carrier.
After years of pursuit, he married his love, Dorothy, on June 16, 1956. Together, they raised four children in South Portland. He was so proud of them and let them know it. He would get all choked up when he talked about his children’s and grandchildren’s achievements.
As if Lennie and Dottie were not busy enough, they owned and operated Black Point Variety in Scarborough in the 1970s. Still working for the U.S. Postal Service, he worked his way up from mail carrier to Tour Superintendent of Mails before retiring in 1984. Upon “retiring,” he built his house in Casco, became top sales rep for Century 21 Balfour, and worked for and retired from the University of Southern Maine.
He always made time for his family. He had a camp at Shaw Acres on Sebago Lake; then bought property and built his house in Casco, also at Sebago Lake. He took the family boating, swimming, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and even to Walt Disney World in the station wagon.
He was a very happy man who lived life to the fullest. He had the love of his life by his side for over 60 years.
On April 2, 2017, he collapsed at the hospital. His heart stopped for almost four minutes. He fought back and, miraculously, came to enough to be coherent. He was not going anywhere until he saw her again. After his children and grandchildren left the room, with Dottie by his side for “alone time,” he passed away peacefully, knowing she was there holding his hand. A true love story.
He was predeceased by his son, Thomas Bickford; sister, Cathy Pomeroy; and brother, James Bickford.
Lennie is survived by his wife, Dorothy Bickford; son, Lenny Bickford Jr. of Gorham; daughters, Diane Payzant of Norridgewock and Lynn Bickford of Casco; and four grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be held Thursday, April 6, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Conroy-Tully Walker South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home Friday, April 7, at 10:15 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland. Interment with military honors will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Broadway, South Portland.
To view Lennie’s memorial page or to share an online condolence, please visit: www.ConroyTullyWalker.com