Maine’s Country Music Community Mourns the Loss of Dick Stacey
The man who brought us Stacey's Country Jamboree and supported country music in Maine and Canada has died.
Dick's career as a small businessman started with the gas station he owned on the corner of Wilson Street and Parkway South in Brewer, called Stacey's Fuel Mart. Eventually, he bought the motel across the street which included a bar that was made for live music. He featured bands every night of the week, even when there were more band members than customers in the bar.
Stacey's Country Jamboree
But it was when he bought a sponsorship for a locally produced talent program that Dick found his niche. The show that would eventually become Stacey's Country Jamboree became an iconic part of every Saturday night in Maine ... and then in Atlantic Canada.
The folks from north of the border loved Dick so much that his bar was one of the stops on their bus tours to Maine. And let's not forget Jennie Shontell, a singer from Bucksport who found her own fame singing "On the Wings of a Snow White Dove" on the show. In its 10-year run, Stacey's Country Jamboree was even featured on Good Morning America. Singer Jerry Pierce immortalized Dick Stacey in a song written by Steve Currie about the man who was one of the biggest supporters of country music in the region.
By Golly! The Commercials
His commercials also brought him notoriety, especially Dick's iconic phrases that are repeated to this day. "You see these hands?" he'd say in his fuel mart ads. "They smell like gas!" Then there were the commercials for the motel, in which he would say, "We take Canadian money at PAHH." (for those not familiar with a Brewer accent, that word is par) Perhaps the most famous was "No Chahge!"
I met Dick Stacey when I walked down the long staircase into his bar in the early 1980s. Over the years, especially once I started working in country radio, I would chat with Dick many times. He was always friendly and kind, but he also loved to tease and had a truly great laugh. Whenever I hear Toby Keith sing "I Love This Bar," I think of Stacey's and how much fun I had there over the years. To this day, I wish it were still around, where we could enjoy live music sevenb nights a week.
The Memorial Service
According to his obituary, Dick Stacey died on Monday at the age of 85. He leaves behind his wife, several children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for October 30 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Jeff's Catering in Brewer.
We've lost so many local musicians in the last few years, including Jeff Simon, Doug Baker, Steven Mooers, and Charlie Gray. I like to think that they all greeted Dick Stacey in heaven, with a smile and a song. We'll miss you, Dick. Rest in peace.