Freshman state legislator Paul Donald McGowan, who died Sunday at his home in York, committed suicide, according to an obituary written by his family.
“McGowan lost the battle with depression and took his own life,” the family said in the obituary that was released late Tuesday through the Bibber Memorial Chapel in Kennebunk.
Family members said in his obituary that McGowan, who lived in the Cape Neddick section of York, never got over the loss of his wife, Shirley Ann Huckins McGowan, who died of cancer in 2003. The couple had been married for 33 years.
“Her passing broke his heart in a way that in the end could not be reconciled,” the family said.
McGowan was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2012 to represent Ogunquit and parts of Kittery, Wells and York. This month, McGowan announced that he would not seek re-election in November because of an undiagnosed medical condition.
That condition was causing him to have increased mobility problems, according to Seacoastonline.com. He was walking with a cane and had trouble driving.
McGowan grew up in North Attleboro, Mass., with his parents and five brothers and sisters. He attended Providence College and served as an officer in the Air Force.
“His career was based in his passion of working with people and trying to improve organizations,” his family said in the obituary.
When he was elected to the Legislature, McGowan focused on improving Maine’s health care system and the fight against cancer. He was best known for legislation directing state government to look at the factors behind Maine’s relatively high cancer rate and finding ways to prevent the suffering caused by the disease.
Colleagues in the Legislature and members of the state’s congressional delegation praised McGowan for his public service and commitment to his community.
McGowan, a Democrat, served on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee. He was also a member of the York Town Energy Committee, the York Energy Efficiency Committee and the Cape Neddick River Association.
He is survived by his two children and four grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday from noon to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bibber Memorial Chapel, at 111 Chapel Road, in Wells.
A memorial services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Ogunquit Baptist Church on Shore Road in Ogunquit. Private burial will be at a later date.