PORTLAND — William C. Carter, 72, of Newcastle, and Winter Haven, Fla., died on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Maine Medical Center with his family by his side.

He was born March 8, 1939, in Damariscotta, to William C. Carter and Clara (Meservey) Carter. Bill grew up on the Bunker Hill Road in Jefferson and attended the Pond Road School in Newcastle. After graduating from Lincoln Academy in 1958, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Upon returning to the area, he was hired as a summer patrol officer by the Damariscotta Police Department, and rose to the rank of chief within three years.

In 1964, at the age of 26, he was the youngest person ever elected sheriff in the state’s history. Undefeated in 14 elections, he retired after 37 years at that post, which is the longest tenure in the agency’s 250-year history, and probably the longest in Maine history. He was an honorary lifetime member, and served as president of the Maine Sheriff’s Association, the New England Chiefs of Police Association, and was recognized by the Maine Police Chief’s Association as Maine’s Police Chief of the Year in 1988.

During his tenure, he was known for embracing innovation, training and technology. He is credited with establishing a DARE program, creating a highly regarded Criminal Investigation Division for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and for making projects happen that people said were impossible, for instance the county’s 911 system.

He was a pioneer when it came to instituting programs in the county jail for drug and alcohol treatment, anger management and others. Bill was so proud of his department and his men. On Dec. 31, 2002, Bill retired as sheriff, and was honored at a retirement tribute held at the Augusta Civil Center, which was attended by more than 250 people. Bill received congratulatory letters from President George W. Bush, Gov. Angus King, Senator Collins, Rep. Tom Allen and Justice John R. Atwood. Many people spoke of his leadership and dedication.

On April 21, 2004, Bill married Dolly Roy of Lewiston in Las Vegas, Nev. Bill spent many summers at his seasonal camp lot at Augusta West Kampgound, on Annabessacook Lake, Winthrop, and he leaves behind many special friends there as well as at his home at Cypress Shores on Lake Jessie in Winter Haven, Fla., where he spent his winters since retiring.

Bill enjoyed spending the week in his motorhome at the Fryeburg Fair every year. His favorite time of year started opening day of hunting season and lasted through Christmas. The time spent at the camp in Cherryfield with all the guys was something he cherished very much. The holidays were something he looked forward to and he always went all out. New England sports were always a big part of his life as well. Bill always had his camera in his pocket, and as a wonderful gift to his family, he captured almost every moment of his life.

“Papa” meant the world to his grandsons, Chad and Ben Carter. He took Chad on his first trip to the northern part of the state, where he gave Chad his first driving lessons on the back logging roads. In February, Ben was able to spend the day with Papa at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Bill was so proud of his grandson, Eliot Libby, and his service with the U.S. Army.

Bill leaves behind a son, Shawn W. Carter and his wife, Jessica, of Jefferson; stepdaughter, Alisa Gibbs and her husband, Stanley, of Arizona; step-daughters, Martine Turner of Lewiston and Sonia Strout and her husband, Joe, of Lewiston; grandchildren, Eliot Libby and his wife, Allisha and their son, Isaac Olson, of Hinesville, Ga., Chad Carter and Benjamin Carter of Jefferson and Jacob Strout and Sarah Turner and Emily Turner of Lewiston; stepson, Lee Thurlow of Portland; niece, Denise Carter Pierce of Damariscotta and her family; and brother, Milton Dale Carter of Washington State.

He was predeceased by his wife, Dolly A. Carter; his parents; and brother, Charles Carter.

Condolences, and messages for the family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.

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