UNION — Luke E. Church, Jr., 75, passed away Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, at his home in Union following a long illness.

Born March 7, 1947 at Chelsea Naval Hospital, he was the first of seven children to Luke E. Church, Sr. and Bernice H. Sweeny.

When Luke was a child, his family moved to California where they resided for eight years before making their way to Revere, Massachusetts.  He had the opportunity to spend three summers in Maine at his aunt and uncle’s house before moving in with them full-time in 1965. During this time he began the first part of his emergency pre-hospital career by taking his first class at the Knox Hospital, the Emergency Ambulance Program in 1966, and again in 1968. He did ambulance calls for Davis Funeral Home in the back of a hearse and was a member of Rockland Fire Department call division. While at RFD, he and other members took the first automobile extraction in the area.

After a few years, he moved back to Revere to work for Revere Ambulance from 1969 through 1972. While there, Luke and other ambulance personnel took one of three first CPR classes for ambulance personnel in Massachusetts, and also obtained his Advanced First Aid certification. Not long after those classes, Luke and his partner received recognition for an infant cardiac arrest save.

Luke had the opportunity to travel to Virginia, where he earned his GED, later graduating from Patrick Henry Community College with a 2-year certificate in Carpentry, finishing first in his class. While in Virginia he was a construction contractor and superintendent for three different companies.

Over many years, Luke spent summers at his aunt and uncle’s cottage on Alford Lake in Hope and eventually moved there year-round. He loved fishing and used to joke that because he spent so much time on and in the lake that it was a wonder he hadn’t grown gills. His love of fishing led him to the West Branch of the Penobscot River, where he would spend a week at a time. Luke also enjoyed watching Red Sox and New England Patriots games. While back in the Midcoast, Luke decided to go to UMA Thomaston Campus where he obtained his Associate degree. He was a founding member of the Student Government Association and served as President for three years.

Following graduating from UMA, he was accepted into the Paramedic Academy at Kennebec County TC. He became an EMS I/C for SMCC, KVCC, EMCC, and taught approximately 500 people to become EMT’s and above. While at UMA he worked as a Heath and Safety Chairman for Pen Bay ARC, was also a CPR and Advanced First Aid Instructor Trainer. He taught ACLS, PALS, Extraction and continuing Education. He had a great love for teaching and was very proud of his students.

He trained pre-hospital persons on Swans, North Haven, Matinicus and Monhegan Islands. Matinicus and Monhegan Islands had no rescue services until he trained people there. While teaching on Monhegan Island, which is 12 miles off the coast of Maine, he fell in love with the island and moved there to work and provide paramedic care to the residents and visitors, ran a health clinic and eventually became director of the service. During his tenure there, he set up the first EMS telemedicine system to have live communication with the doctors at the local hospital and hospitals all over the country that had telemedicine. He also taught the first EMS class to the island over the telemedicine system from the mainland. He received a community service award from the town and accepted a community services award given to Monhegan Emergency Rescue at the MCEMS seminar. In the end, he always hoped that he made a difference.

Over the years he had been a member of Hope FD, Rockland FD, St George FD, Union FD and Special Hazards 5, Union Ambulance, South Thomaston, CFFA, Seacoast Ambulance, Ace Ambulance and Winthrop and Capital Ambulances. He retired in 2010 from North East Mobile Heath Services due to a disability.

Luke was predeceased by his sister and best friend Marielen Kehoe and Maureen Ciasullo and his three brothers John, Raymond “Yamo” and Michael.

He is survived by his daughter Mary B. Katende of Florida; his sons, Mathew LeGallo of Massachusetts, Luke A. Stone of Maine, Chris Davis of Virginia, and Gabe Church of Maine; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; 11 nieces and nephews; 13 grand-nieces and nephews; and a great-grandniece; three sisters, Bernice Kehoe of Massachusetts, Shere Doxie of California and Bernadette Schmitz Reilly of Florida; a special niece, Tracy Dolan of Saint George; two special people; Cindy Burns VanGaalen and Carol Van Arsdale; and his ‘little girls’ Boogie Nose, Houdini and Lil’ Kitty.

Family and friends are invited to visit from 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, at Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A second visitation will be held at 10 a.m. prior to his celebration of life at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Following the service, a graveside committal will take place at the Lakeview Cemetery in Union. After the committal a potluck celebration of life will be held at the Masonic Hall, 105 Camden Road in Warren.

For those unable to attend in person, a livestream of Luke’s service will be available on his Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.  Please follow the link under Photos & Videos Tab then Watch Webcast. To share a memory or story with Luke’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Luke’s name to the following organizations; Pope Humane Society, Blessed be the Bullies, Make a Wish or Union Rescue.