Who was Donald Paul Martel? Popular Maine brewhouse closes following sudden death of friar founder

Donald Paul Martel
Donald Paul Martel

A popular brewhouse in Bucksport has closed following the sudden death of Donald Paul Martel, one of the founders.

Donald Paul Martel died Tuesday, the friars announced Thursday morning in a social media post.

A police officer found Brother Don dead in his car Wednesday at the boat launch on Jacob Buck Pond.

On Thursday, the Tap Room posted on Facebook that Martel died on Tuesday, and they were posting a sign on the door of the tap room saying “Permanently Closed.”

The Brewhouse wrote, “We thank all of our patrons and friends who have supported our endeavors over the years. The stark reality is that…now that the taproom is closed our income has ended with it. We really could use your assistance. If anyone could commit to making a monthly contribution in any amount to help support Brother Kenneth and Brother Stephen it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.”

Who was Donald Paul Martel?

Donald Paul Martel
Donald Paul Martel

Brother Don, as he’s known around Bucksport, was one of three members of the Franciscan Brothers of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, an Episcopalian subset.

He grew up as Donald Martel a few hours away, in Biddeford.

Before donning friar’s robes, he studied culinary arts and music and got a part-time music-teaching job at Holy Angels School in Lynn, Massachusetts.

There, he hit it off with principal Ken Soucy, now Brother Kenneth Leo.

When the school closed, in the mid-’90s, the duo headed to Maine, planning to build a religious retreat.

Instead, they took vows and founded the friary.

Since then, they’ve held public Sunday services twice a month, added one other member, and, for 19 years, run a bakery in Bangor.

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