CAPE ELIZABETH – During his lifetime, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, as a press relations supervisor for a major telecommunications company, and in his later years wrote a series of columns that appeared on the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram editorial pages.

B. Emmett Nathan, a longtime resident of Wildwood condominiums in Cape Elizabeth, died Sunday at the Piper Shores nursing home in Scarborough. He was 86.

Mr. Nathan and his wife, the former Marie Elizabeth McCernan, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in September.

“We enjoyed each other,” his wife said.

They met at a dance in New Jersey during the late 1940s, fell in love and were married in 1949.

The couple did not have children, but made the most of their time together.

They traveled all over the world, taking cruises to the Caribbean and to Europe. They often rented cars while in Europe, and drove through France, Germany and Switzerland.

About 30 years ago, the Nathans drove their new Oldsmobile across the United States to California and back to Maine, a journey that took six weeks.

“It was our road trip. It was memorable,” his wife recalled.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Nathan worked for the Newark Evening News, the newspaper of record in New Jersey, which many regarded as the New York Times of New Jersey. The newspaper closed in 1972.

Mr. Nathan covered municipal government before getting promoted to bureau chief and finally to assistant city editor.

His wife said he was offered a higher-paying job with the former Western Electric Company (now Lucent Technologies), where he became press relations supervisor.

“He liked his job because he got to travel all over the country,” his wife said.

Although the Nathans had roots in New Jersey, they spent summer vacations in Maine. They also spent their honeymoon at the Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake.

In 1986, they moved from New Jersey to Cape Elizabeth, becoming one of the original owners at Wildwood.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Nathan wrote a series of columns that appeared on the Portland Press Herald’s editorial pages.

In one, he wrote about his experience riding around with a female police officer.

In another, he wrote about his interaction with a squirrel that had been eating seed from his bird feeder.

One of his favorite pastimes was playing golf. He played at the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, where he organized a group of 20 or so golfers who competed for fun.

Mr. Nathan also was active in a number of organizations.

He was a former member of the Overseas Press Club in New York, a former trustee of the First Congregational Church on Meetinghouse Hill in South Portland, and a former member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Northern New England in Portland.

“We’ve had a good, busy life together,” his wife said.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]