Donald Henry Goss

Orrington and Branch Lake

Donald H. Goss, 86, died from cancer at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Feb. 27, 2021. Don was born Jan. 21, 1935, in Orrington, the son of Stella (Slager) and Lester Goss.

Our world lost a kind, hard-working and generous man. His wife of almost 66 years, Elaine, lost the love of her life and best friend. His children lost their Papa Bear and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren lost their Bampy. He was the patriarch. He was a much-loved true friend to many in all walks of his life — in Lucerne, Holden, Orrington and recently Brewer, Branch Lakers, Florida pals, fellow Shriners and business customers. Don attended Orrington schools and graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1954.

He and Elaine were married on April 2, 1955, at Orrington Methodist Church across from Don’s family home. Don was hospitalized at Valentine’s Day this year, so he asked for help in getting Elaine’s Valentine rose bouquet. He said “I don’t care what it costs” — symbolic of his limitless love for Elaine. They met in 1954 and Elaine fell for his deep blue eyes!

Through the years Don was employed by C.E. Noyes, Eastern Fine Paper Corp. and Eastern Maine Technical College. He was the old-fashioned “self-made man.” In 1968, he established Don’s Campers Inc. in Holden and grew his business from the ground up. He later purchased and operated Holden Family Campground. He and Elaine worked side by side in both businesses for many years.

Don was happiest at the family camp on Branch Lake in Ellsworth. He loved taking family (especially the little ones) and friends on boat rides and sitting around the campfire. Last summer he participated in a Fourth of July parade in “the Cove” proudly displaying his “75 Years on Branch Lake” banner. He was often seen on his John Deere tractor helping family and neighbors. It was his toy! He and Elaine enjoyed 50 winters in Florida, for varying lengths of time. They so enjoyed their dancing in Maine and Florida.

Don and Elaine donated an antique truck and camper to Cole Land Transportation Museum so they could be enjoyed by others forever. Please visit this museum and see for yourself why they found their donations so rewarding.

Don and Elaine could often be seen riding around in their beautiful red 1962 T-bird convertible and participating in parades, locally and around the state.

Don cared deeply about his family, all his friends and the Shriners mission. He listened and always asked how they were doing no matter what health problems he faced. He helped others quietly, more than we will ever know. He was the constant supervisor of all his family’s projects and said “what’s wrong with that” more times than we can count!

Don was a loyal member of the Orrington Historical Society, Ralph J. Pollard Masonic Lodge in Orrington, Anah Shriners (Convertible Unit) in Bangor, Royal Order of Jesters (Shriners), Bangor/Brewer Shrine Club and Coastal Antique Car Club.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his son Kevin in 2014, son-in-law Bruce Lambert in 2018 and granddaughter Alicia Rae Bessey in December 2020. Surviving in addition to his beloved wife, Elaine, are his loving children, son, Mark, and his companion Cheryl Sprague of Hudson; daughters, Shirlee Smith and her husband, Tim, of Corea, Kim Lambert of Holden, Kerri Bates and her husband, Larry, of Holden and Dale Bessey and her husband, Ted, of East Newport; special daughter-in-law, Cindy Goss, of Holden; grandchildren, Kate Cooper, Kami Lambert-Weatherbie, Jamie Lambert, Ryan Bates, Jonathan Bates, Heath Goss, Scotti Goss and Amanda Randall; great-grandchildren, Lily and Miles Cooper, Lany and Preston Weatherbie, Kelsie and Kennedy Lambert, Brock and Knox Bates, Spencer and Sullivan Bates and Gabby, Piper and Lydia Randall; sister, Nancy Royall, of Largo, Fla.; brothers, Gary Goss and his wife, Ann, of Randolph, Mass., Kenneth Goss and his wife, Linda, of Otis, Harold (Hal) Goss of Florida and many nieces, nephews, cousins and treasured friends.

Memorial services will be held later this summer when we can, hopefully, gather and hug, as Don would want. Those who wish to remember Don in a special way may make gifts in his memory to Anah Shrine of Bangor, 1404 Broadway, Bangor, ME 04401 or Ralph J. Pollard Masonic Lodge, 730 River Road, Orrington, ME 04474. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

Our hearts are broken, and we will miss him forever. As Don said a few days before he passed, “Keep dancing.”

Know when to pay your respects.