W. Jerome Strout, former chairman of Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, died unexpectedly at his home Thursday. He was 87.
A Milo native, Strout started his railroad career as a machinist’s helper when he was still in high school. He continued to work summers while studying for a civil engineering degree at the University of Maine.
Strout joined Bangor & Aroostook full time after graduating from the university in 1929. He became chief engineer and mechanical superintendent in 1940, general manager in 1953, and executive vice president two years later.
In 1962, Strout was named president of the railroad. He was quiet-spoken, thoughtful and devoted to his work. But he also was known for a refreshing sense of humor.
Strout became chairman of Bangor & Aroostook in 1971, two years after it was taken over by Amoskeag Co.
Day-to-day management responsibilities shifted to Frederic “Buck” Dumaine Jr., but Strout was active in the railroad for another eight years. He left the board in 1979 after 53 years with the company.
In addition to his work with the railroad, Strout was active in United Way and the Katahdin Area Council of Boy Scouts.
He was a director or trustee of Northern National Bank, Merrill Trust Co., the Bangor Theological Seminary, and many professional associations.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Thursday.