WEST PARIS — Ruel E. Swain Sr., 87, of Bethel, passed away on Thursday, April 3, at Ledgeview Living Center, after a short illness.

Ruel was born at Rumford Hospital and lived on a farm in Frye for the first nine years of his life, before moving to his residence in Bethel. He followed in his father’s footsteps, farming the rich soil along the Androscoggin River.

He was predeceased by his parents, Leah Marion Taylor Swain and Edwin Emerson Swain Sr.; and his older brother, Roscoe E. Swain. Ruel and Roscoe logged with horses as teenagers and sent their logs down the Androscoggin River in the last log drive to occur on the Androscoggin.

He leaves his wife of 53 years, Maureen O’Sullivan Witter Swain; his brother, Edwin E. Swain Jr. and his wife, Eleanor, of South Carolina and Rangeley; his sister, Henrietta Elizabeth Swain Taft, of Otisfield; his aunt, Isabel Taylor, of Windham; his sister-in-law, Marjorie Connor Witter; his son, Ruel Edward Swain Jr. “Ed” and his wife, Lori, of Bethel; his daughter, Katherine Leah Swain Healy and her husband, David, of Concord, N.H.; a granddaughter, Danyelle Catherine Swain Paulsen and her husband, James, of South Paris; a grandson, Blaine J. Ayotte, of Concord, N.H. and currently in college at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.; and many, many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews and great-grandnieces and nephews, as well as numerous cousins and a large extended family.

Ruel graduated from Gould Academy and was a “4 event man,” skiing cross-country, jumping, slalom and giant slalom. He served in the Army during World War II for two years at various locations in the United States. He then delivered groceries in the greater Rumford and Rangeley areas, before starting work at Portland Pipeline in Shelburne, N.H. His hard work was rewarded and he was trained to be a welder on the pipeline, even welding inside the pipeline that travels under the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

He married Maureen Witter in 1960 and after a few years, they settled into the Swain farmstead. Ruel continued farming while working on the pipeline. He then chose to farm full time as well as start an oil distribution company, Bethel Oil Co., with his wife and his in-laws. Ruel was a talented oil burner service person, and also delivered bottled gas and installed gas fixtures and furnaces. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to customers and his extended family grew a great deal. Ruel was also a 50-plus-year member of the Masonic Lodge.

Ruel was a generous, well-loved and hardworking man, leaving the legacy of the Swain Family Farm, which is continuing under the leadership of his son, Ed.

To learn more about this rich farming history, reference the article found in the Bethel Maine History — The Bethel Journals — Swain Family Farm at www.thebetheljournals.info/Farming/Swain_Farm.pdf.

We will greatly miss Ruel’s sense of humor, storytelling and love and respect for hard work, farming, the land and family.

Special thanks go to his caregivers of the last several months, Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, Ledgeview Living Center and so many friends and family who helped to ease his last transition and support his family.

Online condolences may be shared with his family at www.chandlerfunerals.com.

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