Jeremy F. “Jerry” Grenier Jr., 81, of Litchfield, passed away on March 21, 2021, from complications relating to pneumonia, following a long battle with cancer.
Jerry was born on May 15, 1939, in Biddeford, to Phyllis L. Hanson and Jeremy F. Grenier Sr.
Jerry grew up in Saco, graduating from Thornton Academy. He then entered the Air Force, serving honorably for four years. Upon his return to Maine, he enlisted in the Maine State Police Academy and became a state trooper, serving from 1965 to 1970. He was assigned to the Scarborough Barracks, where he patrolled the Brunswick/Harpswell/Midcoast region. He had many stories from his days as a police officer, and while he enjoyed the excitement and thrill of the chase, what he cherished most was the camaraderie and brotherhood of his fellow troopers. He remained friends with many of them to this day.
In 1975, Jerry opened Montsweag Valley Gun Shop in Wiscasset, which he operated for quite a few years. He was so talented with firearms that in more recent years, he even custombuilt rifles and shotguns for Cabela’s. He just did it because it was fun.
Jerry was practical and extremely humble, with a quick wit and dry sense of humor. He was fast to come up with one-liners, and no matter who you were, you would quickly come to realize that Jerry would tease you. Jerry was happiest when he was hunting and fishing or out in the woods somewhere. He was also skilled in scrimshaw art, and used leather to make purses, wallets and other goods. He had one-of-a-kind skills he didn’t even consider a special talent.
Jerry was an excellent woodworker. With no formal training besides what he learned from his dad, Jerry had an innate talent for creating custom cabinetry, finish carpentry and building furniture. He was an artist with wood. He could build anything from a French Provincial style desk to a Shaker-style cherry bedroom set, all hand-finished, and done to the highest standard. He once custom built a Rangeley boat, a project that took one and a half years to complete. Instead of buying the form for the boat, he created the form himself and steamed all the wood by hand to fit, complete with two cane seats. The finished product — which he named “Miss Vivy” after his beloved daughter — was a testament not only to his talent, but to his love for his family. When Vivian turned 30, she gave her father a picture of a lingerie chest she had seen in a Sears catalog. With nothing more than the picture to go by, he created an exact replica of the chest out of hardwood maple, mixing stains to create the perfect finish. No project was too difficult for the daughter he adored.
Jerry’s skill as a woodworker extended to houses. He built his home in Wiscasset, then later a log cabin in Litchfield, completely by hand, with no machinery. Jerry enjoyed the woodsy lifestyle, and his real, old-fashioned log cabin, with logs raised by hand, was not only a labor of love, but a rustic tribute to the life he enjoyed.
In Jerry’s modest, unpretentious nature, there are many lessons we have learned: to always look for laughter in a situation; when God blesses you with a special talent, use it without vanity and to the best of your ability; that pride in your family is never misplaced; and if you are lucky enough to have a simple life without frills or fuss, be thankful. As they face a future without him, his family’s hearts are warmed by memories of his love, laughter and companionship. His extraordinary skill as a craftsman is truly part of the legacy that his family will cherish.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Sandy (Leith) Grenier; his daughter, Vivian and her husband Ray Durgan of Daphne, Alabama; his stepdaughter Tiffany Maicke and her husband Brian Maicke of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; his grandson, Jeremy Durgan and his wife, Emily, and their son Ari, of Windsor, Colorado; his grandson, Nicholas Durgan of Sevierville, Tennessee, and his daughter, Naomi; a twin sister, Joan Bouthillette and her husband, Lionel “Lee,” of Billerica, Massachusetts; brothers-in-law David and Malcolm; one niece, Linda Bouthillette, and nephews Keith Bouthillette, Brian Bouthillette and Steve Bouthillette, who was like a son to him; and his dog, a Cairn terrier named Laila.
He was predeceased by his parents; his dog, a Cairn terrier named Molly.
The Maine State Police will hold a private memorial service for the immediate family at the residence on May 8.