DRESDEN – Ed Schlick, a longtime political activist and former communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO who formed the Maine People’s Veto Alliance in 2011 to challenge policies by Gov. Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers, died Sept. 10. He was 85.

Mr. Schlick was introduced to Maine politics as a reporter at the former Lewiston Daily Sun. He started his career in 1953 writing obituaries. Two years later, he was tapped to cover local and state politics.

In 1961, he left the newspaper to become executive secretary of the Maine Democratic Party. He wrote speeches for Democratic candidates, raised funds for the party, and coordinated media coverage for political events.

An entrepreneur at heart, Mr. Schlick started his own public relations, research and publishing firm in 1966. He owned and operated ARCO, most recently known as ECS Associates for about 40 years. He worked as a consultant on a range of political topics and public policy issues. He was a longtime communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO and did media relations work for many state agencies. He was also an assistant to former Maine Govs. Kenneth Curtis and James Longley.

His daughter, Karen Lia Schlick, of Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia, said her father was highly respected in political circles. He ran the firm until his late 70s.

“It allowed quite a scope for his intelligence and creativity,” his daughter said about his work. “He was highly perceptive and intelligent. He was able to help people figure things out that they couldn’t figure out themselves.”

Mr. Schlick remained active in Maine politics until his early 80s. In 2011, he organized the Maine People’s Veto Alliance to challenge actions and appointments by the LePage administration.

“He was deeply concerned about where politics was headed in the state,” his daughter said. “He was passionate his whole life about the common good.”

Don Nicoll, a longtime friend, described Mr. Schlick as a idealist, a realist, a free spirit and a highly competent pragmatist.

“He made many substantial contributions to his adopted state over the last half of the 20th century,” Nicoll wrote in an email. “Sometimes (his contributions were made) through his writing, sometimes through his art, sometimes as a wordsmith, sometimes as a wise counselor and sometimes as a public advocate. And through it all he was a charming, offbeat friend who defied pigeonholes.”

Mr. Schlick, of Dresden, was a loving father of four children. In his early years, the Schlicks lived on the second floor of an old farmhouse in East Auburn. His daughter remembered swimming at Lake Auburn as a kid and flying homemade kites on the beach.

Though he spent much of his life in and around Maine political circles, Mr. Schlick’s true passion was art. He studied art at Pratt Institute School of Art and Design in New York and later at Colby College. His paintings were largely influenced by Paul Cezanne, a French artist and Impressionist painter. Mr. Schlick painted mostly landscapes and still-lifes. His daughter is also an artist and art educator.

On Sept. 10, Mr. Schlick sent an email to his children and made his breakfast. Soon after, he suffered a massive heart attack. His son Carl Schlick found his father the next day. “I’ll miss the routine we had,” his son said. Every other Saturday, I took him shopping and to Slates in Hallowell and the State Library. He took out five or six books every two weeks. I’ll miss the constant contact.”

 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com