BATH — Some readers might remember their father or grandfather as a man who could build or fix just about anything. Such skills may have been more common in the past, but Frank Danforth would have stood out in any generation for his talents. His carpentry and restoration work can be found in many of the houses in the Bath area.

One such house belongs to Dick and Meryl Hill, whom I’ve known for many years. Their 20-room Greek Revival mansion has been in the family since it was built in the 1840s by Dick’s shipbuilding ancestor, William D. Crooker. I toured the house recently, and was filled with envy as I wandered the vast space, surrounded by history and family heirlooms.

My jealousy subsided as Dick described 30 years of intensive restoration and hard work. While living in New Hampshire in the 1950s, his mother maintained the old homestead by turning it into four apartments.

By the time Dick moved there in 1984, one whole corner of the building was rotting away from dampness in the basement. Moldings and original hardware were missing. Ceilings and walls needed repair. Worst of all, the fancy, hand-carved railings and roof decorations had blown off in a storm and were barely saved from the landfill. The house needed major renovation, inside and out.

“I couldn’t have done it without Frank,” Dick told me. He eagerly led me from room to room, showing me one item after another that had been fixed, reproduced, or fabricated by Frank Danforth. From ceiling medallions to floor beams, from chair legs to brass stair runners, from crown moldings to new bases for the Greek columns on the front of the house, it seemed there was nothing that Danforth could not make.

“Nothing was ever a problem for him,” Frank’s wife, Catherine, told me. “He was just so talented at everything. He could fix anything. He could do anything. He never quit.”

Frank Danforth attended Morse High School, and walked to school every day with my grandmother, Barbara Vigue. After graduating in 1941, Frank went on to a stellar athletic career at the University of Maine. Indeed, he may have been the best athlete ever to attend the school, as his record seven varsity letters will attest.

After a stint in the Navy, Frank earned his degree and became an engineer. He worked for General Electric and at Bath Iron Works. He coached and taught briefly at Lisbon High School and at Morse, but all the while he did carpentry for people on the side. Typically, projects at home and at his cottage on Birch Point remained unfinished.

“He was too busy working for other people,” Catherine told me. “He was very generous with his time.”

Frank loved to stay busy, and he loved to form life-long relationships. The boys he coached in football still got together with him when they were in their 70s. He stayed very active in the Bath High School Alumni Association, the University of Maine Alumni Association, and with his fraternity brothers.

Over 30 years of working on the Hill’s house, he became part of the family. Often he spent as much time socializing with Meryl Hill as he spent working. However, his skillful hands and brilliant mind were the tools that turned the old house into one of Maine’s finest historic gems.

“When I was scraping the interior woodwork, he created custom scrapers from old Skil saw blades that conformed to the curves and grooves of the moldings,” Dick Hill said. “He saved me countless hours and preserved the wood.”

Dick led me down into the basement to show me the huge hand-carved roof decorations that Frank restored. To please Dick’s mother, they had been returned to the roof in the 1980s, but two years ago they were removed for proper restoration. Thanks to Frank, they look as good as new, and soon will be on display for all who pass by.

Frank Danforth kept working right up to his death last year at age 93. Sadly, his active life was finally ended by a stroke. Thus, Bath lost another talented Renaissance man, who was generous and loved by all who knew him.