MEDWAY – COVID-19 has taken another life in the Katahdin region, this time a local man who was nicknamed “The Rogue Ranger” when he worked for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
“Tom was a pretty outspoken guy. I think that’s how he got the name Rogue Ranger. He didn’t hold his feelings or his tongue back, but you know he was a good woodsman,” said Allagash Wilderness Waterway Superintendent Matt LaRoche.
Thomas Coon, 63, of Medway died Sunday at a Bangor hospital from complications from COVID-19.
“It hits close to home when you know it’s not just a number anymore — It’s tom,” LaRoche said.
Coon was one of five Mainers listed in Tuesday’s Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 tally.
His obituary was written by his longtime girlfriend, Jolayne Dicentes, and states Tom graduated from Schenck High School in 1975. He served in the United States Coast Guard before being hired as an Allagash ranger, a job he loved and retired from after 25 years.
“You know, I just enjoyed working with him. He was a good guy,” LaRoche recalled Tuesday. “He just knew his stuff, you know, when it came down to ranger work. He was good at it.”
Coon was sickened with the virus in early May and died at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Dicentes said the virus prevented her and other family members from being by his side at the end but a special nurse named Melinda “stood in for me” and even took an extra shift to be by his side when he died.
“I’ve been praying for him,” LaRoche said.
Dicentes said Coon loved his ranger job because he loved being outside hunting, fishing, canoeing and even fiddleheading.
“He was a really good ranger and he liked people and, like I said, the ‘Rogue Ranger’ title kind of fit him a little bit because he didn’t hold back and he let you known when you were out of line,” LaRoche said.
In addition to Dicentes, Coon is survived by a son and two daughters, grandchildren and friends.
Many have posted condolences on his Facebook page.
“He had big heart. He did have a big heart,” LaRoche said.