OXFORD — A fallen logger was remembered by friends and family with a procession along Route 26 on Thursday.
Dressed for the cold in flannel, their steel-toed boots and jeans worn with use, over 20 loggers made a funeral line for Mark Ward, who passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 29 in Raymond. He was 46.
Noted for his wit and stoicism, Ward was well-known in and out of the local logging community.
“He was a great-natured man. Very laid-back and put together,” longtime friend Dana Smith of Minot said.
Smith said he’d known Ward since he was 10, when he moved to Oxford and the two became neighbors.
“He always met everyone — strangers, even — with an open heart to see what they were about,” he said.
Ward spent most of his working life doing what he loved best: logging, Smith said.
After completing the forestry program at Oxford Hills Technical School in one of the program’s first graduating classes, Ward went on to get a bachelor’s degree in wood harvesting, according to his obituary.
Lisa Palmer, who organized the train of vehicles beginning near the former Flagship Cinema, said she was happy to see so many turn out.
A cruiser from the Oxford Police Department led the vehicles on the three-mile route, passing the Oxford Hills Funeral Services building where a service was held. Ward’s brother, Mike, is an Oxford Police Department lieutenant.
Days after learning of his death, Smith added a decal with the words “In loving memory of Mark ‘The Woodchuck’ Ward” to his big rig. The proceeds of a large load of felled logs will be donated to the family for funeral expenses, he said.
“That’s Mark’s load,” Smith said.