HARRISON — The last alarm has sounded for former Harrison Fire Chief Anthony “Tony” Hazelton.

Hazelton, 66, lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday, April 20.

He spent roughly 46 years in the Fire Department, 25 as chief, according to Harrison Town Manager George “Bud” Finch.

He described Hazelton as well-respected and loved throughout the community.

With his last alarm, the Harrison Fire & Rescue lost a friend, a brother and leader today,” French wrote in an email. “Tony, may you rest in peace knowing you served above and beyond the call of duty. You will be truly missed.” 

Current Fire Chief Dana Laplante announced “with a heavy heart” Hazelton’s passing on Facebook.

He was well-known in the area and much beloved by those who called him chief,” Laplante wrote. “He was chief at a time of transition in the fire service and his leadership and accomplishments have made it easier for those who follow in his footsteps.”

Hazelton joined the Harrison Fire Department in 1970, according to his obituary, and was appointed chief in 1983.

Finch said he held Hazelton in high esteem, even though he wasn’t town manager when Hazelton served as chief.

He is one of those people that often is defined as the ‘glue that held it all together,’” Finch wrote. As the glue, Hazelton loved people, according to his obituary, and Finch noted the sadness the entire community feels surrounding his death.

We all, family, friends and neighbors feel the emptiness with his passing,” Finch wrote. “In the simplest of all terms, Tony is one of those people who fit into the category I call ‘good people.’ He was liked and respected by all, a height we would all like to achieve but find it is reserved only for those few that truly serve others above self. Thank you, Tony, for being you.”

On Laplante’s original Facebook post, 124 people commented and posted condolences, and 167 people had shared the post as of Friday afternoon.

It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye to not only my mentor, but a dear friend and family member,” Lisa Scribner wrote. “Tony will always hold a special place in my heart & the hearts of many others. I am truly blessed to have called him my friend. Thoughts & prayers are with Betty and the family and his extended fire family. RIP my friend until we meet again.”

Florence Maddocks wrote, “Your smile and contagious kindness will always remain our beautiful memories. … Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends mourning this great loss.” 

In addition to his duties as fire chief, Hazelton was a member of the town’s first Planning Board, according to his obituary. He served his country during the Vietnam War and is described as “a true patriot” who loved putting out American flags with his wife, Betty, at the Harrison cemeteries for Memorial Day.

His day job was as a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, and he retired in 2004 after 37 years of service. Hazelton “was well-known as ‘Tony the Mailman,’” his obituary reads. He served as the commander of the Harrison American Legion Post and was a Mason. He loved racing cars and his need for speed was displayed at Oxford Plains Speedway in his No. 33 car.

Visiting hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Oxford Hills Funeral Services, 1037 Main St., Oxford. At 1:30 p.m., a Masonic ritualistic service will be held.

The memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Harrison Fire Station, 34 School St.

The Town Office will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon during the memorial to allow employees to attend. Overflow parking for the services is at the Town Office and Crystal Lake Park, Finch said.

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