Plourd, 79, born in Providence, R.I., hired out on Maine Central Railroad in December 1954, and was promoted to fireman in 1955, and engineer in 1962.
Early in his career, he served as his local’s legislative chairperson, and from 1960-1993 as UTU Maine-New Hampshire state legislative director, becoming the dean of state legislative directors by virtue of that long service in the post.
From 1985 to his appointment as alternate national legislative director in 1993 — and concurrent with his post as a state legislative director — Plourd was chief of staff at the UTU national legislative office in Washington, D.C.
Plourd retired in 1997 as a member of UTU Local 1400 (South Portland, Maine), following 43 years of membership in the UTU and its predecessor, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen.
A Marine Corps veteran, Plourd served as a member of the University of Maine Labor Education Committee and a member of the New England Regional Commission Task Force on Capital and Labor.
Former UTU International President Tom DuBose recalled Plourd as “a distinguished gentleman in every respect who could be found doing the people’s business to the very end. Gene fought the battles that were required of him and had a capacity to change, a capacity to learn, a capacity to listen, and a capacity to accept life as it is rather than the way he wanted it to be,” DuBose said.
Plourd is survived by his wife, Rosemary, 10 children and 13 grandchildren.
A funeral is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. at Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland. Visitation at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, will be Friday, Oct. 21, from 6-8 p.m.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in Plourd’s memory be made to hospice of Southern Maine, 180 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074; or Limerick Fire and Rescue Squad, 24 School Street, Limerick, ME 04048.