OGINQUIT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - One of the great characters of southern Maine has passed away. Bill Tower...known to thousands for his "Barnacle Billy's" restaurant in Ogunquit...died Tuesday at the age of 86.
Family members say he had been in declining health for several months.
The restaurant at Perkins Cove has been an Ogunquit summertime favorite for more than 50 years - in part , his sons say, because of Bill Tower's personality.
Tim Tower and Court Tower say their father was warm and friendly to everyone, and that drew people to him and to the business. It also brought in his best known regular customer, former President George H.W. Bush. The Tower brothers say Bush came many times, often bringing other celebrities with him, everyone from Bill Clinton and Tom Brady to British prime Minister John Major and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. They say there was something about "Billy" that people liked. When asked to describe that quality, Tim Tower said," Its just the same feeling I had with George Bush. it's the funniest thing. You walk in and feel like you've known him for a million years." He says people got that same feeling from his father.
Townspeople, customers and other friends have been echoing those thoughts in Facebook posts and other comments since Bill Tower's death on Tuesday. A former restaurant employee, Jenna Sevigney, told NEWS CENTER that Tower was always kind and caring as a boss. "If you worked there," said Sevigney, "you weren't working for an employer, you were working for family". Bill Tower is survived by his wife, Bunny, two sons and two daughters, and their families.