A municipal worker killed Monday as he helped hang seasonal decorations on Main Street in Sanford was an avid outdoorsman, husband of 50 years and father of two.

William L. Thyng, 71, was part of a two-person crew using a city-owned bucket truck to hang the decorations when he was killed, said Sanford city manager Steve Buck.

William L. Thyng Photo courtesy of the Thyng family

Thyng had worked for the city as a seasonal employee for the last seven years, Buck said. No further details were released about Thyng’s death, which remains under investigation by multiple state agencies.

“It was apparent how much everyone thought of Bill as we grieved his loss while remembering him for the person he was,” Buck said in a statement. “We all have Bill’s wife and family in our prayers.”

According to an obituary published by Johnson Funeral Home of North Berwick, Thyng is survived by his wife, Sandy, whom he met in college, and his adult children, Mark Thyng and Michelle Littlefield. He also had two grandchildren.

“Bill was a devoted husband, son, father and grandfather to say the least,” the obituary read. “He was the quintessential family man. There is no person he wouldn’t talk to and not many people in the community that he didn’t know.”


Thyng worked for the Internal Revenue Service for 20 years and then with his son-in-law in the private sector. Later in his life, he worked for the Sanford Soccer Association and for the city’s parks and recreation department. He and his wife enjoyed traveling in recent years, to Vancouver, Alaska and the Caribbean, his obituary said, but he most loved spending time at a family camp in Jackman where he would hunt and fish.

Investigators with local and state police, as well as investigators from the Maine Department of Labor, are examining the circumstances that led to Thyng’s death.

Police and first responders were called to the area of 447 Main St., in front of Springvale District Court, about 1:30 p.m. Monday for a report of a man hit by a truck. Thyng was found lying in the street with very serious injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later by Fire Department personnel.

The city said previously that Thyng had been operating the bucket truck immediately before his death. It was unclear how he came to be struck by the vehicle he had been operating, or what caused him to be in the path of the truck.

Buck said Thyng was first employed by Sanford in 2012 at the Oakdale Cemetery. Since then, Thyng has worked at the Parks and Recreation Department as a seasonal employee.

The bucket truck has been impounded by investigators with the State Police commercial vehicles unit. The state Department of Labor, which has oversight of municipal workplace injuries and deaths, responded to the scene to inspect the worksite and will conduct a full investigation.

While the circumstances of the fatal incident are not yet clear, it comes three months after a municipal worker in Portland also was struck and killed by his own truck.

Martin Dinh, 46, of South Portland was finishing his shift emptying municipal trash barrels in downtown Portland on Aug. 20 and had driven his trash truck back to the city’s parking area at about 10 a.m. Dinh got out of the city-owned truck and was then somehow killed by it. His body was discovered hours later. An investigation into how he was killed is still pending.

Two months before that, a foreman was killed in Yarmouth when a co-worker backed over him with a street sweeper at a road construction site. Paul D. Haley, 57, of Farmington, was a veteran employee of Reed & Reed, a Woolwich-based construction firm.

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