Robert P. Bahre Obituary

Robert P. Bahre

PARIS ---- Robert P. “Bob” Bahre, 93, well-known businessman, developer and auto-racing entrepreneur, died early Friday, July 24, at his home on Paris Hill. His wife Sandra and son Gary were with him at his passing. Beginning in 1963 when he first came to Maine as a midget race car owner for a July Fourth race, Bahre recognized the potential, acquired and grew Oxford Plains Speedway into one of the leading and best-attended short tracks in the nation. It hosted regional and local racing and was the first in New England to host NASCAR Grand National race dates. In the 1980s, he sold Oxford Plains and created New Hampshire International Speedway, the only superspeedway in New England, hosting an annual series of NASCAR and Indy car races and serving as a test track for the industry. The track was an immediate success with a long string of sellouts and TV contacts and became a huge stop on the national racing calendar. The Bahre family sold the New Hampshire tack in 2008. Almost as an off-season job, Bahre started developing shopping center locations in a number of Maine towns as well as a single-family residential housing and family and elderly apartments for HUD and USDA. The apartment portfolio numbers more than 500 units at his death. He built hundreds more for other owners. He also launched Oxford Bank and Trust Company, now part of TD Bank and was a principle in a modular home factory operation in Oxford. He was well-known for his force of personality, self-deprecatory wit and sometimes fiery temper. The temper served him well in keeping line-ups of race drivers listening to instructions and in keeping his mass of business undertakings going in the right directions. Known as “Bob” to his dozens of associates and friends, he was born in Canton, Ct. on February 19, 1927, the first of three sons of Peter and Irene (Finnegan) Bahre. He started working on the family dairy farm at an early age and before he was a teenager was running his own trap line and selling furs. He attended local schools and high school and started a small excavation business with one piece of second hand equipment his senior year. “I spend four of the best years of my life in the 7th grade”, he’d like to say. Not everything he touched turned to gold. He told hilarious stories of business misadventures as a youth, buying loads of produce or livestock out-of-state and running into regulations that cost him his investment. In the late 1970s, Gov. James Longley appointed him to the Maine Guarantee Authority which became FAME, the Financial Authority of Maine. He was also a prominent backer of the Oxford Casino in its development and start-up. His commitment grew out of a concern for increasing the job market in the area. His capacity for work was nearly inexhaustible and he might call business associates early or late seven days a week. His right hand man, especially in the racing business, was his brother Richard, who died in 2008. Even after strokes took their toll on his health, he would take trips to his office, work his telephone and dine out in the community. His generosity was legendary and extensive. Besides his St. Catherine of Siena church in Norway, he contributed annually to a number of churches in Maine and New Hampshire. He was a major contributor to Stephen’s Memorial Hospital in Norway and made extensive contributions to Oxford Hills High School scholarship fund and other scholarship funds around the Maine and New Hampshire. Employees and former employees were also recipients. He never divulged the extent of his giving. Word of it leaked from recipients and officials at various institutions. He never drank alcohol, never smokes, was a devote churchgoer, but readily admitted to a weakness for antique cars. His collection was considered world class and was shown once a year to benefit the Paris Hill Memorial library. For many years, the Bahre family hosted a Christmas party at their Paris Hill home for neighbors, friends and business associates. The party was often attended by Governors and Senators who also appreciated the Bahre largesse. He was recognized with a number of community awards and was inducted in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He is survived by his wife Sandra, a son Gary, a daughter, Terri Carleton (Kevin), a brother, Everett of Palo Alto, CA., grandsons Christopher Carleton of Portland and Weston Carleton of Bethel. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Richard, son Douglas and an infant son. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday July 29th at 1 p.m. at Oxford Plains Speedway, Main Street Oxford, Maine with private family burial to follow. As we strive to keep everyone safe and healthy, it is requested that attendees wear a mask and social distancing measures will be followed. In lieu of flowers you can donate in Bob’s honor to the fund for Stephens Memorial Hospital Imaging Equipment Upgrades, 181 Main Street Norway, Maine 04268. Services are under the direction of Chandler Funeral Homes & Cremation Service 45 Main Street South Paris, Maine. Online condolences can be shared with the family at www.chandlerfunerals.com. The service will be streamed live for those who can't attend or don't feel it is safe at this time due to Covid-19 to come. Please copy and paste the link below to watch Bob's service live. https://speed51.com/speed51-to-stream-bob-bahres-funeral-services-wednesday/
February 19, 1927 - July 24, 202002/19/192707/24/2020
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Obituary

PARIS ---- Robert P. “Bob” Bahre, 93, well-known businessman, developer and auto-racing entrepreneur, died early Friday, July 24, at his home on Paris Hill. His wife Sandra and son Gary were with him at his passing. Beginning in 1963 when he first came to Maine as a midget race car owner for a July Fourth race, Bahre recognized the potential, acquired and grew Oxford Plains Speedway into one of the leading and best-attended short tracks in the nation. It hosted regional and local racing an...

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Events

Jul
29
Funeral Service
Wednesday, July 29 2020
01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Oxford Plains Speedway
Main Street
Oxford, Maine 04270
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Memorial Contributions

Stephens Memorial Hospital Imaging Equipment Upgrades
181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268