Thomas A. Bertocci, 65, of Thomaston died April 4, 2010, at his home in Thomaston after a long illness that he faced with dignity, grace and good humor.

Tom was well-known for his interest in people. He valued and cultivated his friendships, and was always on the lookout for new ones. He was a humanist, deeply committed to education and citizen action, which he saw as important tools for improving people’s lives.

Tom was born in Lewiston on Feb. 17, 1945, the son of Margaret True Allen Bertocci and the late S. Theodore Bertocci. He was raised in Bath, graduating from Morse High School in 1963. Tom continued his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as a teacher, coach and administrator in a variety of school settings in Maine, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

His interest in government and citizen engagement with one’s community inspired Maine Reach, an alternative high school program of the Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset, which he co-founded with Tim Ellis in 1973.

In 1979 Tom put his citizen action skills to work coordinating the campaign to retain Maine’s bottle deposit law, a job that introduced him to his wife, Cindy Stanhope, of Portland. They were married on Oct. 3, 1981.

Tom joined the staff of U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell in 1980, serving as field representative in central Maine until 1995. Tom loved this work, which allowed him to reach out to communities, individuals and businesses across the state engaging on issues from community economic development to veteran’s affairs. Empowering people to shape their future was central to his view of life.

Following his employment with the senator, Tom chose to work close to home and made plenty of time for the various sports teams and projects of his children, Elena and Philip. He organized family trips and saw to it that his family traveled both at home and abroad. During this time he worked as a court mediator and as a facilitator for a number of public policy and community groups. He also created his own small business, drawing on his love of Italian food and talent for cooking.

In recent years, Tom returned to one-on-one work with students as an academic advisor and secondary school tutor. He encouraged kids to aim high and reach their full potential while he obtained a certificate of advanced study in education at the University of Maine. With his children grown, he embarked upon a campaign for town selectman in the fall of 2009 and went door to door engaging folks in conversation about their hopes for the town. He won his first election, but the recurrence of cancer prevented him from serving as he had planned.

Throughout his life Tom loved bringing people together — around the campfire, to share a meal, or to watch a Red Sox game or the latest election returns. He especially enjoyed leading carols at the Christmas party he and Cindy hosted each year.

Tom is survived by his wife, Cynthia Stanhope Bertocci; his daughter, Elena S. Bertocci; and his son, Philip S. Bertocci of Thomaston; his mother, Margaret A. Bertocci of Brunswick; his brother, David C. Bertocci and his wife, Ntoetse, of Alexandria, Va.; his brother, Andrew G. Bertocci and his wife, Jeanie Barnard, and their daughter, Maggie, of Yarmouth; and a loving extended family.

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held Saturday, April 17 at 11 a.m. at the Thomaston Baptist Church, 112 Main St. in Thomaston. Burial will be at Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Tom’s memory to the Chewonki Foundation, 485 Chewonki Neck Road, Wiscasset, ME 04578,; the Mitchell Institute, Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, 22 Monument Square, Suite 200, Portland, ME 04101,; Trekkers Inc., P.O. Box 455, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860,; or the Georges River Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 103, Thomaston, ME 04861,

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family through Arrangements are with the Hall & Bibber Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Thomaston.