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Dysart's Co-founder, Who Started Driving Trucks At Age 12, Dies at 84

Bangor Daily News/file

Milton Bruce Dysart, a co-founder of Dysart’s Truck Stop in Hermon, died Tuesday at the age of 84.

Milton, his cousin Edward Dysart, and Edward’s son, David Dysart, started Dysart’s Truck Stop in the late 1960s, according to Milton Dysart’s obituary.

He began his career in the trucking industry pumping gas as a youngster at the family-owned gas station on Hammond Street in Bangor but quickly moved on to driving trucks before he got his driver’s license at the age of 15.

Credit Courtesy Brookings Smith Funeral Home / via Bangor Daily News
via Bangor Daily News
Milton Dysart.

His son, Eric Dysart of Hampden, remembered asking his father about getting his license when he was studying for his own truck driver’s license.

“He looked at me and smiled,” Eric Dysart said Thursday. “‘Well, it was a lot different then,’ he said. ‘I just went to the motor vehicles office and told them I wanted to get a driver’s license.’

“‘The man looked up at me, asked how I got here, and I pointed to the trailer truck out by the road,’” the truck driver’s son continued. “‘He asked who had driven me in so they could vouch for me, and I told him I drove myself here. The man said, ‘In that?’ and I said, ‘Well, yes.’ He filled out my new license and passed it to me.’”

It turned out Milton had been driving trucks without a license since he was boy, over Route 16 between Bingham and Abbot. His son learned that after he called his dad to tell him about a long hill where “you are looking at nothing but sky.”

“Dad just chuckled,” Eric Dysart recalled. “Then he said, ‘That’s where I first started trucking. I was hauling wood up over that road in an old gas-job. I was about 12 or 14.’

“I asked if he had run a trip with gramp, and he had let him drive,” the son said. “‘Another chuckle. ‘No, I drove one of the trucks for a solid winter back and forth across that route — a trip after school some days, and all weekend, every weekend.’”

The family trucking business was founded in 1920, 14 years before Milton Dysart was born to Marshall W. and Blanche (Flanders) Dysart. The first truck stop opened at the gas station in 1934, the year Milton was born. The family business remained there until 1958, when it moved to Brewer for less than a decade, and then moved to Hermon after Interstate 95 was completed in Greater Bangor.

After hauling wood in his early teens, Milton started hauling oil to sardine factories Down East and to Aroostook County after he got his driver’s license. He later made many trips from Searsport to Fort Kent hauling Shell Oil products to Daigle Oil Co.

“He was very proud to have driven 5 million miles plus without a chargeable accident,” his obituary said.

He went to work at the Hermon Truck Stop when it opened on Mother’s Day in 1967, working as a cashier during the days and as a mechanic during the nights. After working 16- to 18-hour days, Milton sold his share of the business to his cousin, David, and worked for St. Johnsbury Trucking Co. for 14 years. Milton later returned to the family firm and managed the warehouse for two years.

He retired from the business in 1998 and moved to “paradise” on Bottle Lake in Lakeville.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Betty J. (Grant) Dysart; his children, Denise and husband, Joseph Knapp; Dennis and wife, Karen Dysart; Eric Dysart and wife, Jennifer; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and brother Donald Dysart and wife, Nancy.

His cousin, David Dysart, died in 1999 at the age of 71.

A celebration of Milton Dysart’s life will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor. Relatives and friends are invited to call until the service, which will be followed by a reception at Dysart’s on Broadway.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.