SOUTH PORTLAND – Stephen G. “Gig” Hasson, 93, of South Portland, passed away peacefully on July 5, 2022 after a long and full life.
He was born March 15, 1929 to Stephen J. and Florence (Hayden) Hasson on Walnut Street in Munjoy Hill. His family moved to Peaks Island in 1932 when he was 3 years old. Growing up on the island, it became an indelible part of who he was for his entire life. He attended Peaks Island School and graduated from Portland High School where he was an all-state defensive football player.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from what is now the University of Southern Maine, as well as an associate’s degree from what is now Southern Maine Community College.
Gig’s young years on Peaks Island were full of many adventures with his brothers and pals, some of which weren’t suitable for printing. During and after the war years, he was quite enterprising on the island. From the age of 14 until high school, he drove the ice cream truck, delivering ice cream to homes on the island throughout the summers. After high school, he and his brother, Richard “Dick”, owned and operated Harborview Bar for a few years, where the Gem Gallery and Umbrella Cover Museum are now located. As one can only assume, this was a memorable and bustling island establishment with stories we have heard over the years. After his business at Harborview, Gig went scalloping to Georges Banks with a Swedish captain and crew for several months. Following a violent blizzard during his last trip, he decided to hang up his raincoats for good.
During the Korean conflict, Gig served in the United States in the United States Army. He was first stationed at Fort Dix, NJ, then served in the Army Counterintelligence Corps, living and working in New York, NY. by meeting a beautiful girl, Mary Bowden. Gig and Mary were married on August 31, 1954 during what became known as Hurricane Carol! The electricity went out, the trees had fallen and the bride was late for church, but the marriage still prevailed and they celebrated 61 years together until Mary died in 2015.
Gig joined the Portland Fire Department in 1952 with gaps during that time in the service. He quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming District Chief in 1967. Monty’ Montgomery, Gig and his small crew also served as the island’s police force. More reminiscent of Barney Fife, there were top-secret “settlements” to thwart teenage parties and outback speeders, even though the island had no speed limit signs. Once Gig became District Fire Chief, he and his family moved from Peaks Island to Portland. He enjoyed his years with the Portland Fire Department, but wanted to do more to prevent the fires that often resulted in loss of life. While still working for the PFD, he began working for the Maine State Fire Department. For the state, he began giving courses in tactics and hydraulics to novice and veteran firefighters. When he retired from the fire service in 1974, he immediately went to work full-time for the training and education of state firefighters, and eventually became the Maine State Fire Administrator. With his office located on the Southern Maine Community College campus, he oversaw fire science training and education programs across the state. Throughout his career, he has taken a particular interest in supporting burn victims, often attending conferences and seminars at the University of Maryland Fire Training Academy to learn about the plight of burn victims. burns and how to employ more preventative measures. As a result of these experiences, Gig was instrumental in implementing the “Learn Not to Burn” program in Maine public schools as a model program to help children learn about safety and fire prevention. Gig retired as Maine State Fire Administrator in 1994 as a happy and fulfilled man.
Civic engagement was very important to Gig. He served on the Portland Harbor Commission for nine years, as well as the Learn Not to Burn Foundation. When the Irving Oil Company planned to build more oil reservoirs near Bug Light, Gig and his sister, Kay Loring, managed to prevail as “Davids” over their “Goliath” adversaries to prevent the project and preserve what is now known as Bug Light Park for all things fun.
Gig enjoyed his retirement years which were anything but idle. He enjoyed traveling with his wife, Mary, especially in Canada during the summers and autumns. When not on the move, he enjoyed the sweeping view of Casco Bay from his living room, often calling his son-in-law, Nick, to let him know about the full capacity of the various Casco Bay Lines ferries. He also liked to call his friend, Ken Farber, when he was out sailing to advise him of a better route he should take through the channel. Always passionate about fitness, Gig faithfully trained in the gym three times a week until the age of 91 at the start of the COVID pandemic.
Most important to Gig, by far, was his family. He loved nothing better than being surrounded by everyone telling stories of his childhood in Peaks and hearing about the adventures of his family members.
Gig was predeceased by his parents; his brothers, the infant John (1917), Daniel (1949), Richard “Dick” (1965), Lawrence “Larry” (1979) and his sister, Margaret “Pat”. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary (Bowden); and his infant son, John, who died in 1961. He was also predeceased by a brother-in-law, Robert Loring, who was like a brother to him.
Gig is survived by his beloved daughter, Kelly Hasson, with whom he had an unbreakable bond, and her husband Nicholas Mavodones whom he adored. He is also survived by three much loved grandchildren, Nicholas Mavodones, III of Burlington, Vt., Joseph (Emily) Mavodones of Cape Elizabeth and Jillian Mavodones of Portland; and three beloved great-grandchildren, Lydia, Jack and Thea Mavodones of Cape Elizabeth, who brought her so much laughter and joy. He is also survived by his sister, Katherine “Kay” Loring of Falmouth and his sister-in-law, Christina “Tina” Smith of Durham; as well as several nieces and nephews who all meant everyone to him.
The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. John Reynolds MD, Dr. Paul Sweeney MD, Dr. Adam Rana MD and the team at Maine Medical Center Wound Center who provided Gig with exceptional care over the years. Special thanks also to her neighbors and friends at Breakwater Condominiums and, of course, her favorite nurse, Juanita MacDonald, who provided unparalleled care and compassionate support.
Gig had a mischievous smile and a twinkle in his eye that will never be forgotten, and his daughter was blessed with the best father imaginable. He wants everyone to live their best life like him.
Visiting hours celebrating Gig’s life will be Monday, July 11 from 4-7 p.m. at Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. A Christian Burial Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress St., Portland on Tuesday, July 12 at 10 a.m.
To view Gig’s memorial page or to share a condolence online, please visit http://www.ConroyTullyWalker.com.
Please consider donating to one of the following organizations or the charity of your choice on their behalf:
Stephen G. Hasson Fellowship
South Portland, ME 04106
The Center of
555 Forest Ave.
Portland, Maine 04101
Obituary: Jean Frances (Gilbert) Sanborn