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Town Loses ‘Heck of a Carpenter’

Friends remember Clifton carpenter Glen Longerbeam.

Glen Longerbeam was the unofficial carpenter of Clifton, with residents waiting up to a year for him to work on their homes.

Repeatedly called "a good man," a "heck of a carpenter" and true friend with a great sense of humor, Longerbeam, who died on Dec. 3, will be missed by the town that trusted him with their homes.

"I had coffee with him every morning during the year he was working on our house," said Clifton Betterment Association president Michelle Stein. "We’d sit and talk about what was done the day before on the house. He was always there before I left in the morning and when I got home at night."

No matter how odd the request for carpentry work or how strange the idea, Stein said Longerbeam never said something could not be done.

"Glen was just a wonderful man," said Judy McNamara, who hired Longerbeam for the second addition on her home. "He was an incredible guy. You never heard him say anything negative about anyone."

Anyone who asked Longerbeam for a favor or who needed help knew he would be there without question, McNamara said.

Longerbeam inherited his carpenter’s trade from his father, Paul, and would share his talent with younger men or teenagers in town as a way of providing job training, she said.

LONGTIME FRIEND Dave Simpson said he and Longerbeam would contract each other’s services when working on remodeling projects. Simpson, who used to own a heating and air conditioning business, said the two men shared clients and happily gave each other referrals.

"If I saw him working on a house with his dad, I’d stop and talk with them for a few minutes," Simpson said.

Once Paul Longerbeam, Glen’s father, became sick, Simpson said Glen took time off to help him recover. Once Paul Longerbeam was well, he often joined his son at work. The two carpenters worked side by side for years.

"Glen was a competent straight shooter, he always had a lot of integrity with his work," Simpson said. "I just really liked Glen, he was a great guy to be around and talk to."

When Peter Noonan and his family decided to put a large addition on their home, there was no question who they wanted to do it.

"He spent 2 1/2 years on our house," Noonan said. "He was here so much and for so long, my son would follow him around with a little tool belt on a say he was Mr. Longerbeam."

Noonan said he did not mind waiting a year for Longerbeam to be available for the work; he knew this was the best contractor for the job.

"Glen was a really good guy who made sure to take time with his dad when he needed to," Noonan said.

Former Clifton mayor Jim Chesley said it was still difficult to think about the town without Longerbeam.

"I walk around my house and see things he did for me as a carpenter and it’s hard to believe he’s not with us," Chesley said. "He was the best finishing carpenter around. There was no question who I would call if I needed any kind of work done."

Longerbeam was a storyteller and a joker, Chesley said, a good father two his daughters, now in their 20s, and a good husband to his wife, Nancy.

But Chesley, like many others, had fond memories of seeing Glen and Paul Longerbeam working together, two generations of carpenters sharing what they loved.

"It was so neat to see the two of them working together the last few years," he said.

Longerbeam is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters, and father Paul Longerbeam.