Donald Demmons Sr., 74, died following a brief illness Monday, July 21, 2014, at Maine Medical Center in Portland with his wife holding his hand and loving family at his side.

Born in Rockland, he was the son of Ralph Sr. and Mary Coffill Demmons. As a young boy, along with his sister Sylvia, Don went to live with Robert and Elizabeth Gushee and family. He was raised as part of the Gushee family, and considered them family his whole life. Don attended Appleton schools.

Following high school he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served from 1959 to 1962. After his honorable discharge, he lived in Delaware for a brief time before returning to Rockland. Here he met Pat Upham at Beaver Lodge, and the rest, as they say, is history. The two were married April 29, 1964, in Rockland and have been inseparable ever since. Together they enjoyed 50 years of marriage, and just returned home from a memorable 50th anniversary trip to Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay just two days before Don was hospitalized.

When Don first returned home from the service, he was employed with a landscaping company in Camden. He later went to work for Bath Iron Works as a welder. His welding career took him to New Hampshire where the family resided for 12 years.

Returning to Maine in 1981, he began working with the Maine State Prison as a guard. He was employed there for over 20 years, and was known as a gentle individual, always treating the inmates and his co-workers with respect, earning theirs in return. Don retired from the prison when the location moved from Thomaston to Warren.

Even after retiring, Don continued to stay busy. He could be seen pumping gas and sharing stories with the customers at Creek Hill in Thomaston. He was also a member of the American Legion.

One of Don’s greatest passions was country music. For over 25 years he played lead guitar for the Frye Mountain Band with his special "brother" Dick Philbrook. He enjoyed going to competitions in Vegas where they won the title of "Best Traditional Country Band." Along with the band, he traveled from Connecticut to Bangor, playing at many different venues.

Being on the water and his favorite bass boat was another favorite pastime. He spent many hours with his fishing partner, Danny Swindler, casting their lines in local lakes and ponds including Chickawaukie, Seven Tree, Pemaquid and Mic-Mac Cove on Crawford Pond, where he was known as the "Bass Man."

Don was experienced with CB and Ham Radio, and enjoyed talking with others. He was known by the handle "Hilltop."

He had a great sense of humor, and always had a joke at the ready. His family said he had hundreds of jokes and could rattle them off one after another. He loved to make others laugh and his playful nature will be missed by all who knew him.

Predeceased by his birth parents, his step-mother Margaret "Peggy" Demmons; two sisters, Leona Sawyer, Shirley Fish; four brothers-in-law, Richard Fowles, Keith Burns, Sonny Sawyer, and Ellery "Mac" McCluskey Jr. ; Don is survived by his wife of 50 years, Pat Demmons of Cushing; his sons, Donald Demmons Jr. and his wife Sherrie of Warren, Andy Demmons and his wife Terri of Freeport; his daughters, Pam Horvath and her husband Ken of Danville, Pa., Donna Rollins and her husband Frank of Parkman, Karen Keating and her husband Gary of Thomaston, Barbara Demmons Miller of Delaware; his brother Ralph Demmons Jr. and his wife Jennie of Warren; his sisters, Mary McCluskey of Thomaston, Sylvia Fowles of South Thomaston; his grandchildren, Donald III, Joey, Amanda, Nicole, Colin, Haley, Seth, Noah, Jessica, Jennifer, Jason; nine great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law with whom he spent a lot of time, Paula Upham and Nancy Upham, both of Thomaston; and his two special babies, his Maine Coon Cats, Shadow and Sweetie.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, July 27, at 3 p.m. at Village Cemetery, Erin Street, Thomaston. The Rev. Wayne Sawyer will officiate. A reception will follow at the Thomaston American Legion.

To share a story or memory with Don’s family, please sign his Book of Memories at Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland.