LACONIA — Antonio "Tony" Maheux was honored by friends and family on his 100th birthday Saturday at Laconia Country Club.
Maheux was presented with a Centenarian Proclamation by Brenda Kean, executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society at the celebration, an event at which many stories were recounted about Maheux, who was stepfather to the seven children of his wife of 40 years, Noella (Walker) Gagne and for years ran his own painting and wallpapering business in Laconia.
''He was very good to my kids,'' said Noella, who said that she and Tony met a few years after the death of her first husband, Sylvio Gagne, in 1970.
At the time she had six children living at home and one in the armed services ranging in age from 10 to 25 and recalled that she had called Tony to have him so do some wallpapering for her. ''I talked to him while he was wallpapering and we got to know each other and shortly after that we started dating,'' she recalls.
They were married in 1973 and lived on High Street in a home which once belonged to 19th century Laconia Mayor Charles Busiel.
Maheux, who now sees only shadows due to macular degeneration in his eyes, grew up in Laconia and counted among his early jobs working as a logger and delivering cords of woods to households using his father's truck. He worked at what was then Laconia Hospital from 1934 to 1946, when he started his on business.
He was a jack of all trades at the hospital, where he did everything from mowing the lawns and maintenance to running the boiler room when the regular worker was on vacation and even lending a hand in the operating room.
''I used to help Doctor Abbott sometimes. I remember holding a man's leg when the doctor put a pin in it. Other times I'd help put body casts on and move the patients from room to room or help them stand up after an operation,'' said Maheux.
His work was so valued at the hospital that when he was drafted during World War II the hospital asked that he be classified as essential worker because he was so valuable to keeping the hospital running.
Following the war he opened his own painting and wallpapering business which he ran from 1946 until he retired in 1982. After his retirement he would often help family and friends by doing carpentry, painting and wallpapering in their homes.
''He's a wonderful guy. I don't know what my mother and all of us kids would have done without him,'' says his stepson Mark Gagne.
Antonio 'Tony' Maheux celebrated his 100th birthday at Laconia Country Club Saturday. He is shown with his wife of 40 years, Noella, and Brenda Kean, center, executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, who presented him with a Centenarian Proclamation in honor of his birthday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)