Longtime Ellsworth barista passes away


Rooster Brother photo

Coffee connoisseurs who made trips to or through Ellsworth are mourning the loss of one of the area’s better-known brew stewards.

Mike Raynor, a barista at Rooster Brother since 1999, died Sept. 29 at the age of 58.

A Lamoine resident, Mike was the morning counter person on the kitchen store’s first floor, where coffee, tea, chocolate and other food items are sold. As such, he greeted people as they came in for their morning coffees and baked goods. He had a deserved reputation for being kind, considerate and welcoming, and for having a deft touch with the store’s espresso machine.

The store’s staff – recognizing the role Mike took on for many of their customers and the difficulty they will face in finding someone else who might try to fill it – has posted a tribute to Raynor on the Rooster Brother Facebook page. There, dozens of people have recalled Raynor’s smiling demeanor and his relaxed, conversational presence behind the counter.

“He was a bright spot on many a cold, wet or snowy morning,” wrote one person.

“He was always so thoughtful, bringing coffee over to the Emmaus Homeless Shelter and popping popcorn as a Grand [Theater] volunteer,” wrote another. “He will certainly be missed.”

My only interactions with Mike were when I darted in for a morning cup of coffee to take to work or on the road. He always greeted me by name and was easy to chat with about the changing weather, elver fyke nets in the abutting Union River, or the latest big news in the Ellsworth-Bar Harbor area. I usually walked out the door not just with a cup of hot coffee in my hand, but also with a friendly exchange or insight from Mike fresh in my mind.

This Ellsworth American feature story about Mike, written only two months ago, does much to capture the flavor of what he brought to his job and shared with the store’s coffee-clutching clientele.

According to his obituary, published by the Ellsworth American, a celebration of Mike’s life will be held at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015,  at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth.

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.