Sep. 30—On March 22, Craig Harmon was given the devastating news that his brain cancer had returned and that he had only months left to live.
Three days later, Harmon and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bouthiet, walked to a field behind his home in Limington, where he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. She said, "Of course." He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her onto her tippy toes.
"It was beautiful," his wife said. "That day felt like a movie, a fairy tale. I found a man I didn't think actually existed in this world and he wanted to marry me. I knew that even though our time together would be short, he was the only man I would ever want to marry."
Harmon died on Sept. 16, at home with his wife by his side. He was 37.
Their love story began in March 2020. She bought a house in Buxton that needed plumbing and heating work. She got a referral and called Harmon, a well-known plumber, for an estimate. He called her right back and left a voicemail.
"I still have the voicemail. I listen to it every day," she said. "We met later that afternoon. He kind of reminded me of (former Patriots tight end) Rob Gronkowski. He was tall and handsome, and you could tell he was from Maine because of his accent."
He grew up in Limington, a son of John and Diana Harmon. He graduated from Bonny Eagle High School in 2003.
Harmon started learning the plumbing trade at 16. For several years, he worked alongside his mentor and friend Rob Dorr, of Buxton. In 2017, he started his own business, Harmon's Plumbing and HVAC Services in Limington. He was a licensed master plumber and had steady work throughout southern Maine.
Dorr said he gave 110 percent and did everything to the best of his ability.
"He was building a clientele and catered to all of his customers' wants and needs," Dorr wrote in a Facebook message. "He was honest and very dedicated to his work and family. Craig was one of a kind."
Harmon was soft-spoken, humble, and hard-working. When his wife first reached out for an estimate, it took several weeks before Harmon could start the work. During that time, she said, he called to say hi and to check on her progress with renovations.
"He was the most caring person in the world," she said. "He was the first subcontractor on the job every morning. I found out later, once we started dating, that he was not a morning person. For him to be rolling on the job site at 6:30 to 7 a.m. was something."
Harmon worked on her house six days a week and never really left, she said. They fell in love.
"He was an amazing human," his wife said. "He was calming. He would listen to you talk and go on and on about something he probably wasn't interested in, but he heard every word. I'd be having a horrible day and just sit with him. He calmed my soul."
Six days after Harmon's terminal diagnosis, the couple got married at Limington Town Hall. He wore work clothes. She wore ratty jeans and a sweatshirt.
"We got married the way we wanted it done," she said. "Every day was a gift."
LIVING BY THEIR MOTTO
Harmon lived life with purpose and intention. His wife said they had a motto, "Today is a good day to have a good day."
He spent his last months outdoors four-wheeling and exploring dirt roads and trails. He had a longtime passion for hunting. In 2021, he shot a buck.
Harmon went on a boat twice in June with his best friend, who let him take the wheel. He had never driven a boat before.
The couple held Thanksgiving in August, knowing he wouldn't make it to November.
They drove through the trails on his property in a friend's side-by-side vehicle.
She said they loved the Jackman area and recently spent a week on Big Wood Pond. Harmon got the opportunity to meet his idol, Hal Blood, an author, hunter and registered Maine Guide.
"It meant the absolute world to him," she said of that meeting. "We love it up in Jackman. We didn't have an itinerary. We did what we love doing ... getting in the truck and finding dirt roads and good sites. We enjoyed being off the grid."
Harmon died at home in his wife's arms. She broke down in tears describing how she lay beside him for two hours after. She then walked out to the field where he proposed and looked up at the sky.
"The moon was so bright. The sky was so clear it lit up the whole field. I looked at the sky and started talking to him, 'I love you. Thank you.' As soon as I went back into the house, I heard a big snort like a deer exhaling, and three big steps. I said, 'Oh my gosh, thank you babe. I needed that.' It put a smile on my face. It was incredible. Even though he's gone, he's everywhere."