The Lebel Family and Maine Heritage Weavers recently honored the life of the late Fred Lebel, Former President of Bates Manufacturing and Founder of Maine Heritage Weavers.  A little over one hundred people gathered at Maine Heritage Weavers in Monmouth, Maine to celebrate Fred's life and many triumphs as a leader and pioneer in the historic textile industry of Maine. 

Source: Sun-Journal

Fred was born in Lewiston and began his career in textiles in 1952 shortly after serving in the military. He worked as a top executive at several companies throughout his life but spent most of his time at the Bates Manufacturing Company where he eventually worked his way up to President. In 2002, he started Maine Heritage Weavers at the Hill Mill in Lewiston, which moved operations to Monmouth in 2013. Fred received several awards throughout his career, including the Small Business Administration Veteran-Owned Small Business Award of 2013 and the Frances Perkins Award for his dedication to workplace safety.
The completion of Maine Heritage Weavers’ move to 904 Main Street in Monmouth was one of Fred's greatest dreams that he was able to see through before his passing in October 2013.  The production floor is a perfect representation of both his extensive knowledge and expertise in textile manufacturing while the complex itself is an inspiring symbol of his pioneering spirit and his undying belief in Maine manufacturing and the craftsmen and women behind it.


Current & Past Textile Workers (about half still work at Maine Heritage Weavers)

A brief ceremony honored his life as a family man as well as his great achievements in textiles over a 60+ year career. The event culminated in Fred's favorite activity, a walk around the production floor. 

To learn more, read the local newspaper's coverage of the event and Fred's story, "Lewiston's Weaving History Alive and Well in Monmouth."


September 21, 2015 — Adrienne Beacham

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