Lloyd George talks about his family in this Nov. 30, 2015, file photo.

Lloyd George, a longtime Bangor resident who started Maine’s first black-owned construction company — but whose personal passion was singing in local choirs and at weddings — died July 31. He was 85.

George was born in Brewer in 1934, one of seven siblings in a large African-American family. His family later moved to Bangor’s Fairmount neighborhood, where George and his siblings spent the majority of their lives. He graduated from Bangor High School in 1953.

According to his obituary, George’s first job was at the age of 10, delivering newspapers for the Bangor Daily News. He later worked for a dairy farm, for the team that built the runway at Dow Air Force Base, and alongside his father, Edson, who was a contractor and mechanic.

[Bangor Metro: Original Bangor Community Chorus member still singing after 50 years]

In the late 1960s, George started his own business, Lloyd E. George Construction Co., becoming the first black-owned construction firm in Maine. His work can be seen all over the Bangor area — from the foundations of many of the homes in the Bangor Gardens neighborhood to the retaining walls surrounding the Veterans Remembrance Bridge that carries I-395 across the Penobscot River.

Though his career was in construction, it was his other passion — singing — that made him a beloved figure for many decades on stages, in churches and at special events throughout the region. Possessing a rich baritone voice, George got his start singing as a student at Fairmount School, later joining the Youth Choir at the First Christian Church on Hammond Street.

He began to sing at tent revivals, weddings and funerals, and eventually joined the local community theater group the Bangor Savoyards, and in 1969 became a founding member of the Bangor Community Chorus. George’s charisma and compelling singing style made him an in-demand performer.

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“I’ve sung in every Protestant church in the cities of Bangor and Brewer,”George said in an interview with the Bangor Daily News in 2015. “I’ve sung at weddings and funerals for more than 50 years, and I’ve loved every minute of it. It was always an honor.”

George was also a Mason, an avid gardener, a star athlete at Bangor High School, and a master craftsman who hand-built his own home, a motorboat and a camper. He is survived by his wife, Inez, with whom he celebrated his 55th wedding anniversary just six days before his death, and by his children, Linette, Nathan and Stacy.

Though he suffered from ill health in his later years, George continued to sing right up until the end, with the choir at the Hammond Street Congregational Church, and with the Bangor Community Chorus, including at the chorus’ 50th anniversary concert held in April. In a Bangor Metro Magazine article about George and the chorus’ anniversary, he said singing was, for him, a natural thing.

“As long as I’m able to breathe, I am going to want to sing,” he said.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.