Thorpe honored at retirement reception

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

HE WILL BE MISSED — Wearing a ‘retired’ banner across his chest, Elwin Thorpe poses during his retirement reception, which was held Sunday afternoon at the Casco Community Center. Thorpe served as Casco’s Code Enforcement Officer for 31 years. (De Busk Photo)

CASCO – For Casco resident Elwin Thorpe, one the downsides of retirement will be seeing less of his co-workers.

Thorpe will regret having fewer opportunities to meet new residents, like those who turned to the code enforcement office for assistance in interpreting building codes or zoning laws.

“I think what I will miss the most about my job is the people I work with. They were great. I am going to miss seeing people. I enjoyed meeting people, the new ones that moved to town,” Thorpe said.

“I enjoyed the friendship of everybody,” he said.

As if to testify to his cordial personality, the turn-out at Thorpe’s retirement gathering was sizable. More than 200 people stopped by the Casco Community Center to congratulate Thorpe during a retirement reception held in his honor on Sunday.

“Most everybody who was there I see almost on a yearly basis, because they were in building and in real estate. One was a local person who we worked fire and rescue together. It was nice to see him,” Thorpe said.

“There wasn’t anybody I hadn’t seen for a year or two,” he said of his guests.

A few well-wishers have phoned Thorpe from Florida. The former Naples CEO Jack Cooper called from that Southeastern state recently, he said.

As far as retirement itineraries go, Thorpe and his wife aren’t hanging their hats on any set schedule.

“To enjoy our grandchildren – that is our biggest plan,” he said without hesitation.

“We have some in Harrison, in parts of Virginia, and some in Portland, Oregon,” he said.

“The plan is to either visit them or have them come see us,” Thorpe said.

He put in his last work day with the town on Feb. 10.

Prior to becoming Casco’s CEO, Thorpe nailed down a niche for himself in the construction industry.

“I worked with two or three different companies as construction supervisor and foreman for them,” he said, adding he had experience in both residential and business construction.

“I started construction in 1963, and worked in it until I went to work for the town,” he said.

During three decades with the code enforcement department, he has witnessed two boom-and-bust cycles in the construction industry.

“There was a monstrous boom in the building and construction trades,” he said.

“We had one of the greatest booms we ever had, and it ended about four or five years ago,” Thorpe commented.

“In the ‘80s, there was a boom, but not as big as (the most recent one) But, there was a lot of development happening in the ‘80s, too,” he said.

Despite the slowdown in home construction, people are still buying and selling homes. In fact, a portion of Thorpe’s time as CEO was spent answering real estate related questions and inquiries about zoning laws.

“I dealt a lot with real estate brokers or people buying and selling a home wanting to know different things that can and can’t be done,” he said.

Typically, landowners were open-minded about what was permissible on their land, he said. However, land-usage laws are not always the easiest topic to approach, Thorpe said.

“The most challenging part of my job is getting people who had their minds to do what the local zoning doesn’t allow, and convincing them there are other ways. That was challenging, for sure,” Thorpe said.

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