On May 5, 2020, Stonington lost one of its own iconic characters, boatyard owner and operator Harlan Richard Billings. Harlan, who spent time between homes in Palm City, Fla., and Stonington, said goodbye to his good friends in the South before making the long journey north with his wife, Anzie, at the helm. He wished only to see his family, friends and boatyard one more time before quietly slipping away from us.
Born and raised in Stonington, he grew up in Burnt Cove on “The Point,” where you would most likely find him hanging out and about the shore. Joining the Coast Guard seemed like a career choice that would suit Harlan and his love of the water. That is, until he was urged by his father, Dick, to help out at his recently purchased boatyard, Billings Diesel & Marine Service. Together they laid the foundation that enabled Harlan to grow BDMS into “The Yard,” one of the most well-regarded boatyards on the coast of Maine. As Harlan serviced more and more customers, his commitment to help others, at all hours of the day or night, in all weather conditions, notoriously became what both he and Billings are known for.
Harlan was predeceased by his father, Richard Shirley Billings, his mother, Olive Estella Billings, his sister Larna Wellman, and mother of his children, Donna Daye “Scamp” McDonald. He is survived by his wife, Anzie, of Palm City, Fla., and Stonington, his daughters, Suzette Grindle and Sandra Shepard, and their husbands, Peter and Randy, along with his four grandchildren, Abigail, Sam, Morgan and Ethan, all of Deer Isle. He will be remembered by his nieces, cousins, as well as a list of friends and employees too vast to list. Regardless of where you met him, in the North, in the South, or somewhere in between, his zest for life was contagious and he undoubtedly left you with a smile on your face and a “tale” or two of his many adventures.
The family will spread his ashes off Moose Island and look forward to a time when we may all gather together, for friends to share stories of HB, family to reminisce about times with Woo, and employees to tell tales of Chief. Every day, in big and small ways, Harlan will be remembered by so many.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Ellsworth, where online condolences may be shared with the family at www.bragdonkelley.com.