Bill Haskell was born in Presque Isle December 13, 1913 in Presque Isle and died in Presque Isle January 17, 1968. He was a graduate of the Aroostook State Normal School and the University of Maine Orono, where he was active in sports. He taught in local school systems and in private schools in Massachusetts. He was a pitcher for the Presque Isle Indian semi-pro baseball team from 1934-1937. Having played basketball and baseball on the local team, and having been involved in the construction of the E. Milton Grant Playground and Swimming Pool. It is interesting to note that he was the first Eagle Scout in Presque Isle. His experience in summer camps, teaching, organizations and coaching fitted him admirably for the recreation position.
He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII and continued as an active member in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, retiring in 1966 as a lieutenant colonel.
In 1946 he was hired as the first director of recreation and parks in Presque Isle, and served in that capacity for 35 years, retiring in 1981. He was a founder and past secretary, treasurer and president of the Maine Recreation and Parks Association which was founded in 1966. He was a charter member and past president of the Northern Maine Community Recreation Association. In 1978, he was presented the award of Leisure Professional of the Year by Maine Recreation and Parks Association.
He was a member of the Presque Isle Rotary Club, a member and past commander of the
American Legion, Ray Goding Post No. 88, a member of the Hayward-Frazier Post No. 2599, VFW, and a charter member, treasurer and past president of the Presque Isle Curling Club. He served as an associate supervisor of the Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District and as a member and treasurer of the St. John-Aroostook Resources Conservation and Development Steering Committee.
The Maine Recreation and Park Association created the William V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year Award. The Award was created to honor former Parks and Recreation Director William Haskell. The award is presented annually to recognize veteran Maine Parks and Recreation professionals who demonstrate leadership within the MRPA and to have demonstrated outstanding performance on a community level through innovative programming, facility development and civic involvement.
Haskell helped establish Aroostook County’s first recreation department indoor skating, ice hockey and curling facility in 1964. The Presque Isle City Council granted the use of Building 611 at Skyway Industrial Park to the Recreation and Parks Board. Under Mr. Haskell’s direction the local recreation program expanded to include; swimming, tennis, arts and crafts, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, the annual spudland and softball tournament, bowling, broomball, karate, slimnastics, fly tying senior citizens and skating. Recreation facilities were utilized at Mantle Lake Park and Arnold Brook Lake.
During 1979, local recreation and parks facilities increased 40 percent with the completion of the Arnold Brook watershed recreation area, the indoor swimming pool, the Northern Maine Forum and the Riverside Bi-Centennial Park.