LACONIA — Armand Maheux, the city’s longest-serving police commissioner, died Monday, family members said. He was 88.

He joined the commission in 1995 and retired a year ago.

At a retirement luncheon last October, he praised the department.

“I think, bar none, we have one of the finest departments in New Hampshire, and that doesn't come just from me, that comes from the commandant of the Police Academy,” he said. “They do their job and they do it right. They do it the way it should be done. We're not, 'Kick butt and take names later.' Service, that's what we're here for.”

He was born on Jan. 19, 1930, to Wilfred J. and Maria (Dupont) Maheux and was a lifelong resident of Laconia.

He managed a department store, a shoe store and a jewelry store before serving as a police officer from 1974-78. He left the force to take a position with Aavid Thermalloy.

He was known for being impeccably dressed, usually sporting a sharp and well-fitting suit, with a tie and polished shoes.

Mayor Ed Engler praised Maheux at the Tuesday night City Council meeting.

"He was one of a kind," Engler said. "A true gentleman in every sense of the word."

Maheux wasn't a large man, but those who served with him said he was known for being the first to wade in if things turned physical or there was trouble.

"He made enormous contributions to our community and I for one will greatly miss him," Engler said.

Over the years, Maheux served as Santa Claus at the city's annual Christmas party, even though, with his thin frame, straight posture and military precision, nobody would mistake him for Saint Nick.

Before his retirement, he had an emotional meeting with Police Chief Matt Canfield.

Maheux had a police commissioner's badge and a building pass and he talked to the chief about needing to return those items.

“That was a pretty heartbreaking conversation,” Canfield said.

Canfield framed the badge and pass and presented it to Maheux at the retirement luncheon. Maheux also received a city proclamation thanking him for his service.

“This guy's an outstanding person,” Canfield said at the time. “He's made it to every single DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) graduation, every police academy graduation. He has never missed.

“He remembers everybody's birthday. Even when he was in the hospital the last couple years, he made sure we got our birthday cards. He just truly cares about people, about us and about this department.”

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