Paul Francis Bickford, 94, died peacefully on March 13, 2013, surrounded by loved ones at Village Crossings in Cape Elizabeth.

Paul was born Aug. 17, 1918 to Francis H. Bickford and Esther Fuller Bickford in Roxbury, Mass.

He spent most of his childhood in Great Neck, N.Y. and at the family summer home in Camden. He attended the Stony Brook School on Long Island, N.Y., where he played football and won the Long Island wrestling championship in the 185-pound division. He sailed on Penobscot Bay summers and enjoyed skiing winters.

Paul attended Bowdoin College and joined Zeta Psi fraternity. When World War ll intervened, he enlisted and served in the U.S. Army. After serving in the infantry, he was able to apply his knowledge of the German language and worked in Military Government in the Nuremberg Sector of Germany.

In 1942 he married Elizabeth (Betty) Jenkins of Skowhegan. After the war, the couple lived in Boston where Paul became purchasing agent for the family-founded Hayes-Bickford restaurant chain. In 1949, shortly after their daughter Carol was born, the family moved to Needham, Mass. Over the years Paul served on the Board of Deacons as well as Trustees at the First Baptist Church of Needham.

A devout fly fisherman, Paul belonged to the Anglers Club of Wrentham, Mass., and made annual trout-fishing sorties to Moosehead Lake each June. He was an ardent amateur photographer and was known for lengthy family slide shows with accompanying commentary. As enthusiastic tourists, Paul and Betty traveled around the country and into Canada by car, often with their daughter Carol, and visited many of the national parks. Since Betty was confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis, Paul made sure she could see the beauty of the parks from every outlook. Always the optimist, no incline was too high for Paul to push the wheelchair to record the view on camera.

In 1988, Paul and Betty moved into their newly-built home in Rockland on the coast of Maine. Betty died in early 2000 but Paul remained in their home until the fall of 2012, visiting friends and family, exploring back roads and eating at favorite spots such as Moody’s Diner.

At Village Crossings in Cape Elizabeth, he continued to enjoy dining and socializing with his many new friends.

He is survived by his daughter Carol E. Bickford, his sister Barbara Crimp, nieces Susan Crimp-Marcet and Nancy Bickford-Jordan, nephews Peter and David Crimp, and Bill and Norman Bickford as well as grand nephews and nieces.

He has been interred in the family plot at Mount Auburn, Cambridge, Mass. A memorial service will be held in mid-June. Kindly send gifts of remembrance to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.