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Colby James Seams

     Colby was born on March 25, 1944 at home in Anson on his father’s birthday, the youngest child of James A. and Alfreda B. (Adams) Seams. He passed away peacefully in that same home from complications of congestive heart failure on May 12, 2023.

     He attended Garrett Schenck School in Anson, and then Madison High School, class of 1962. He graduated from Thomas College in 1965 with an AA degree in English, and obtained a B.A. from Ricker College in 1967 with a double major in English and History and a minor in Education.

     He had a varied and interesting work history including the Plastics Mill in Madison, Madison Paper Industry, the Maine fair circuit, the Kennebec log drive, and digging ditches for the Madison/Anson Water District. He was a member of the Sugarloaf Mountain ski patrol and worked on the original gondola line. He was a teacher of English at Dexter High School, and of English and history for the 7th and 8th grade in Perry. He spent a summer as a park ranger for the Maine Forest Service in Grand Lake Stream managing their campsite, and fishing during his off hours. And he enjoyed substitute teaching for Madison High School.

     He met his life partner, Karen Wilson, while teaching in Dexter, and they married on Nov. 9, 1968. As she was known to say, they had so much fun they married again in 1988.

     Following his heart, Colby and Karen moved to Canada in 1969 and he started his career with Coles Book Stores as a book buyer in their Ottawa, Ontario store. He became a Coles store manager in Kitchener, Ontario in Montreal, PQ, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and held the position of Head Book Buyer at the main office of Coles in Toronto, Ontario. When he returned to Maine in 1975 he was employed by the Bangor Tenant’s Union, serving low-income families in the Bangor area. After completing his alternate service, he bought several cartons of used books from a newspaper ad and opened Ex Libris Book Store in Bangor. He had found his calling. He expanded his stock by attending library and charity book sales, and made his store a stopping place for fellow book lovers. He made many lifelong friends there, particularly during the Friday night poker games.

     In 1981 he and his family and his favorite books moved from Bangor to Anson, back to the house in which he was born and raised. He sold books out of his home by mail order and in 1985 opened Books Bought and Sold in the old train station in Madison. In 1987 he bought a house at 103 Main St., Madison, converting it to a used book store, and providing a new home for thousands of books and record albums. There he spent many wonderful days with wanderers, writers, book and music lovers. The coffee pot was always on and the conversations and discussions lively and enjoyable. He made many genuine and lasting friendships doing something he loved.

     He was a proud member of the Somerset County Democrats, serving in capacities of Chair, Treasurer and Vice Chair, and as a member of the State Committee. He was a Board member and past Chair of Channel 11 local access TV. He was a past Board member of the Wesserunsett Arts Council. He was a Registered Maine Guide, taught the Hunter Safety course, and was an avid fisherman in both winter and spring, when he waded trout streams all over northern and central Maine. He especially enjoyed the Lewis camp at Howe Brook, where he was known by the nickname “Saltpork.”

     He volunteered with the Literacy Volunteers of Madison and was always a voracious reader and a fountain of information on many subjects including his special interests in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. He was a chess coach at Garrett Schenck Elementary School, and he thoroughly enjoyed playing chess with his sons and friends, and especially with his grandson. He was a champion player of cribbage and Trivial Pursuit. He enjoyed hosting a radio program at Colby College called A Bookman’s Breakfast, later called Colby at Colby, playing the music he loved for his early morning audience. He enjoyed exploring his ancestry, discovering his heritage and finding relatives of his Adams, Seams and Couture lines in Maine and Canada, and back to family roots in France. He was a friend of Bill W since 1982. He was a member of the United Congregational Church of Madison, and served as their Treasurer. He was a member of NAMI Maine and along with his wife, Karen, facilitated the Family to Family Program in an effort to help families affected by mental illness. He also served as a Family Support Partner for NAMI’s Wraparound Program.

     He was predeceased by his parents; infant daughter, Kirsten Lee; sisters Madeline “Sis” Bragg and husband Elmer “Bus” and Carol Jean Hurd and husband Duane, sister-in-law, Connie Calkin; and nephews Eugene Hurd and Charles “Chuckie” Wilson.

     He is survived by his wife, Karen of Anson; sons Josh and wife Claire of New Portland, Aaron of Madison, and Jordan and partner Jana Mitchell of Madison; granddaughters Gail Anne and Megan Marie of Farmington, grandson, Brendan Colby of Madison; beloved in-laws; nieces, nephews’ and cousins; and many friends he always considered to be family, particularly the Loring/Booker family, whose companionship he enjoyed for well over 50 years.

     “The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.” – Abraham Lincoln



Gary W. Woolson

     Gary W. Woolson, born at New Haven, NY, January 8, 1937, died March 18, 2023 at Newburgh. He was a son of Charles Lewis and Helen (Sherman) Woolson. A Bookseller since 1967, after Naval service and miscellaneous jobs. Gary enjoyed reading and gardening.

     He is survived by four brothers and two sisters, their families and several cousins and many friends. Two brothers predeceased him.

There will be no service before or after cremation as per his wishes. Any donations may be made to the Newburgh Community Library, 2220 Western Ave., Newburgh, ME 04444.

     Over the years he met many lifelong friends, mostly fellow dealers, and many loyal customers.  When David wasn’t traveling, he always had space for his books, whether in a heated garage, big barn, or scattered all over the house.  He was well known for his dry wit and sense of humor.

Howard LaRue

     Long time MABA member Howard Larue died on January 11th at the age of 94.   With the help of his assistant, Jennifer Mitchell and her husband, David, he kept his book shop, Penobscot Books, in Searsport open up until nearly the time of his death.

     I knew that Howard had been an Episcopalian minister before becoming an antiquarian bookseller, but I didn’t realize all the other adventures he had as a Naval officer before reading his obituary.  Which is explains his interest and deep knowledge of Japanese and Pacific culture among other fields.   His passing is a loss to our trade and to bibliophiles all over Maine.