America’s cultural landscape suffered a string of prominent losses in 2016, and in Maine we lost an array of artists and cultural icons, local heroes and environmental champions. It was the lives they led, not the ways they died, that moved us. Some Mainers who died in 2016 felt like intimates we’d known personally all our lives, like Bob Elliott of the “Bob and Ray” comedy duo and “plucky boy” Donn Fendler, who got turned around in the Katahdin fog back in 1939 and became famous through his story, “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.” Others had big platforms and booming voices, like “Cigar Sammy” DiPietro of South Portland, or Portland attorney Peter DeTroy, whose unexpected death in May prompted thousands of mourners to fill Merrill Auditorium. Others slipped away unnoticed, like recluse Lucie McNulty, discovered years after her death, or in the quiet of adjoining hospice rooms, like Robert and Lucille Robinson, married 65 years, who died within hours of each other.


Phyllis Austin, an acclaimed environmental writer who wrote "Wilderness Partners," a book about Buzz Caverly and Baxter Sate Park, died Monday. Photo courtesy Jym St. Pierre

Phyllis Austin, an acclaimed environmental writer who wrote “Wilderness Partners,” a book about Buzz Caverly and Baxter Sate Park, died Monday.
Photo courtesy Jym St. Pierre

PHYLLIS AUSTIN, a prominent environmental writer, died in November at age 75. Her former editor at the Maine Times, where she worked from 1974 until the award-winning publication was shuttered in 2002, described the environmental journalist “as probably the best Maine has ever seen.” She began working for The Associated Press in 1969 and in 1972 was named the organization’s first environmental writer in New England.


John Bird became active in Old Orchard Beach politics in the early 1970s. He served two terms on the town council and was appointed vice chairman in 1973 and chairman in 1975.

John Bird became active in Old Orchard Beach politics in the early 1970s. He served two terms on the town council and was appointed vice chairman in 1973 and chairman in 1975. Courtesy photo

JOHN BIRD, a former town councilor in Old Orchard Beach who attended nearly every council meeting and advocated strongly for environmental and conservation issues, died in May at age 73. A beloved Ocean Park resident, Bird served on numerous town committees, including the conservation commission and charter commission. He also co-founded the Ocean Park Conservation Society and served as its director at the time of his death.


Ann Brahms, shown in a 2004 photo, was a writer, dog trainer and mother of five.

Ann Brahms, shown in a 2004 photo, was a writer, dog trainer and mother of five. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

ANN ALLEN BRAHMS, an accomplished author and well-known columnist for the Your Neighbors section of the Portland Press Herald, died in November at age 78. Brahms published seven books ranging from murder mysteries to a dog-training manual, including two memoirs about her life in Portland and love of family. Brahms and her husband volunteered for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and were honored for their work in 1991.


Ron Burke of Shapleigh taught pottery at institutions in Maine and elsewhere.

Ron Burke of Shapleigh taught pottery at institutions in Maine and elsewhere. Family photo

RON BURKE, a master potter and craftsman from Shapleigh, died in May at age 80. He taught a master class from his home studio and was a visiting instructor at institutions including the Maine College of Art, Portland Pottery and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He began working as a potter in 1965 while living in New York and moved to Shapleigh in 1973. Over his career, he made and sold an estimated 34,000 clay objects.


John Christie at Washington Pond in the 1990s. He was remembered as an outgoing, energetic presence.

John Christie at Washington Pond in the 1990s. He was remembered as an outgoing, energetic presence. Family photo

JOHN CHRISTIE, a ski enthusiast who was a former owner of Saddleback Mountain and general manager of Sugarloaf, died in May at age 79. Christie oversaw installation of the gondola at Sugarloaf when he was general manager, and owned Saddleback from 1972 to 1975. He also worked as general manager of Mount Snow Development Corp. in Vermont. Christie was an author, a regular outdoors columnist for the Maine Sunday Telegram, and a leading authority on Maine skiing and the ski industry.


Chris Connors and his daughter, Caitlin, who wrote her father's unusual obituary with her cousin, Liz Connors, aided by input from many others.

Chris Connors and his daughter, Caitlin, who wrote her father’s unusual obituary with her cousin, Liz Connors, aided by input from many others. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Connors

CHRIS CONNORS, who lived life to the fullest with adventure and humor, died in December at age 67. His honest and humorous obituary (“he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor”) read like a movie script. But family and friends swear the former Golden Gloves boxer really did spend 40 hours in a life raft in the Caribbean and climbed to the Mount Everest base camp at age 64. Connors made his career on Wall Street, and moved to Maine after his brother and best friends died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Bob Cummings

Bob Cummings

BOB CUMMINGS, whose trailblazing journalism for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram resulted in 400,000 acres of Maine forestland being returned to the people of the state, died in January at age 86. Cummings was named journalist of the year in 1978 by the Maine Press Association. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and in 2015 was awarded the Conservation Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. He also served as a member of the Phippsburg Board of Selectmen from 1980 to 1991.


Conrad Cyr

Conrad Cyr

CONRAD CYR, a native of Limestone who went on to become a federal judge, died in July at age 84. Early in his career, Cyr was a federal bankruptcy/referee judge, and he founded and became editor-in-chief of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal. Cyr was nominated by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in Bangor in 1981, and was elevated to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George H.W. Bush. He also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., from 1987 to 1994.


Charles-DeGrandpre

Charles-DeGrandpre

CHARLES DeGRANDPRE, an innovator in the organic farming movement, died in February at age 88. He was recruited to work at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in 1968 and helped develop an organic beef farm there. DeGrandpre, the manager of the farm, was an early leader in developing healthy soils and nutrient-rich grasses with very few grains. His efforts brought sustainable agriculture practices to the forefront in Maine. He retired in 1992 and was an active member of the Freeport American Legion, Wolfe’s Neck Club and St. Jude’s Catholic Church.


Peter J. DeTroy died of an apparent heart attack while riding his bike.

Peter J. DeTroy died of an apparent heart attack while riding his bike.

PETER J. DeTROY, a prominent Portland lawyer who was well-known throughout Maine and was involved in a number of high-profile cases, died in May at age 68. A practicing lawyer in Maine since 1972 and a founding partner of the law firm Norman, Hanson and DeTroy, he became one of the state’s most accomplished lawyers over recent decades. He handled both civil and criminal cases, and often was sought out by other lawyers when they needed legal representation.


Santo DiPietro, better known as Sam, opened DiPietro's Market in 1972. The well-known business owner and politician died Sunday at the age of 81. Three of his children now run the market.

Santo DiPietro, better known as Sam, opened DiPietro’s Market in 1972. The well-known business owner and politician died Sunday at the age of 81. Three of his children now run the market. Photo courtesy DiPietro family

SAM DiPIETRO, a powerful politician, community leader and family man, died in October at age 81. DiPietro, a cigar-chomping, larger-than-life son of Italian immigrants, opened DiPietro’s Market in 1972, which became a local landmark in South Portland and a required stop for any Democrat on the campaign trail. He served three terms on the City Council, two years as mayor, and four terms in the Legislature in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also co-founded the South Portland Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine.


ROBERT DUNFEY

ROBERT DUNFEY

ROBERT DUNFEY Sr., a real estate developer who transformed a pastoral landscape into the Maine Mall shopping center, the state’s largest shopping mall, died in August at age 88. The former resident of Cape Elizabeth was one of the co-founders of the chain of Dunfey Hotels now known as Omni Hotels, once owned the former Eastland Hotel in Portland and was a prominent backer of Democratic politicians.


Bob Elliott, half of the comedy team Bob and Ray, died on February 2 in Cundy's Harbor. He was 92. Elliott is shown in this 1952 TV publicity photo with (the torso of) his partner Ray Goulding. They broadcast on radio 'approximately from coast-to-coast'  beginning in 1946. They continued to work together for forty years.  'A hallmark of Bob and Ray comedy was bone-dry delivery of the absurd. With masterly comic timing - Elliott with a nasal deadpan, Goulding with booming authority - Bob and Ray mocked the cliches and banalities of newscasts, politics, sports and advertising. The characters they played were inept, pompous or shady - logic-free "experts," sore political losers, dense reporters and dimwitted everymen.' (Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post)

Bob Elliott, half of the comedy team Bob and Ray, died on February 2 in Cundy’s Harbor. He was 92. Elliott is shown in this 1952 TV publicity photo with (the torso of) his partner Ray Goulding. They broadcast on radio ‘approximately from coast-to-coast’ beginning in 1946. They continued to work together for forty years.
‘A hallmark of Bob and Ray comedy was bone-dry delivery of the absurd. With masterly comic timing – Elliott with a nasal deadpan, Goulding with booming authority – Bob and Ray mocked the cliches and banalities of newscasts, politics, sports and advertising. The characters they played were inept, pompous or shady – logic-free “experts,” sore political losers, dense reporters and dimwitted everymen.’ (Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post) Associated Press

BOB ELLIOTT, one half of one of America’s most famous comedy duos, Bob and Ray, died in February at his home in Cundys Harbor, at age 92. The soft-spoken Elliott paired with baritone-voiced Ray Goulding in 1946 to form a comedy team that was heard over the years on CBS, NBC and, in the 1980s, on NPR. Their shows closed with Goulding reminding people to “write if you get work” and Elliott reminding them to “hang by your thumbs.”


Donn Fendler, whose experiences as a 12-year-old lost on Mount Katahdin were recounted in a classic children's book, chats with a young reader at a book signing in Bangor in 2011. He wrote back to every child who wrote to him.

Donn Fendler, whose experiences as a 12-year-old lost on Mount Katahdin were recounted in a classic children’s book, chats with a young reader at a book signing in Bangor in 2011. He wrote back to every child who wrote to him. Associated Press/Michael C. York

DONN FENDLER, the hero of “Lost on a Mountain in Maine,” died in October at age 90. At age 12, Fendler became separated from his family near the summit of Mount Katahdin and got lost, triggering a massive manhunt that made headlines nationwide. He survived nine days in the woods without food – walking 48 miles and losing 16 pounds – before stumbling upon a hunting camp. “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” became a children’s classic and is still assigned in Maine schools. Fendler frequently visited schools and libraries to talk about his experience.


Will Fulford, who coached cross-country and track at Biddeford High School, died Sunday at age 29.

Will Fulford, who coached cross-country and track at Biddeford High School, died Sunday at age 29. Photo courtesy of Biddeford School Department

WILL FULFORD III, a high school track coach known for his soft-spoken manner, died in December at age 29. A graduate of Kennebunk High and the University of Southern Maine, he coached cross-country and track at both Biddeford High School and the University of New England.


Julie Goell in character as a mime and clown. Her motor skills have deteriorated as a result of atypical Parkinson's disease and she, with the help of a community of friends on Peaks Island, has come out with a memoir and how-to manual for clowing.

Julie Goell in character as a mime and clown. Her motor skills have deteriorated as a result of atypical Parkinson’s disease and she, with the help of a community of friends on Peaks Island, has come out with a memoir and how-to manual for clowing.

JULIE GOELL, who had a career as a clown and mime on the streets of Rome and the theaters of New York before moving to Maine, died in December at age 65. She specialized in Commedia dell’Arte, and taught hundreds of aspiring performers to find themselves by trusting their instincts and taking chances on stage.


Jazz drummer and composer Steve Grover gets ready to play at Elements cafe in Biddeford in June 2015. Paul Lichter, a jazz concert promoter, called Grover "the most significant jazz musician in Maine history."

Jazz drummer and composer Steve Grover gets ready to play at Elements cafe in Biddeford in June 2015. Paul Lichter, a jazz concert promoter, called Grover “the most significant jazz musician in Maine history.” Photo from Facebook courtesy Ralph Grover

STEVE GROVER, who was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the greatest jazz musicians and teachers in Maine’s history, died in July at age 60. The Lewiston native composed “Blackbird Suite,” which won the 1994 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz/BMI Jazz Composers Competition, the world’s most prestigious jazz competition. Grover also was a superb jazz drummer and taught extensively.


Gordon Hamilton

Gordon Hamilton

GORDON HAMILTON, a world-renowned climate change scientist at the University of Maine, died in Antarctica in October when his snowmobile plunged into a crevasse. He was 50. Hamilton studied the behavior of modern ice sheets and their role in the climate system and modulating global sea levels. His current research included ice and ocean interaction in Greenland and ice shelf stability in Antarctica.


M.D. Harmon, Portland Press Herald columnist and former editorial page writer, in 2004. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

M.D. Harmon, Portland Press Herald columnist and former editorial page writer, in 2004.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer

MICHAEL D. HARMON, a longtime editor and columnist at the Portland Press Herald known for his conservative viewpoints, died in December at age 71. Harmon, who served in the Army in Vietnam, worked for the Portland newspapers for 41 years and continued to write a weekly column after he retired in 2011. He became an ordained priest in 2016 and had just led the Christmas service at the Church of the Prince of Peace in Sanford, a small congregation that he helped establish more than a decade ago, a few days before his death.


Timothy Hussey

Timothy Hussey Courtesy of Hussey Seating Co.

TIMOTHY HUSSEY, the president of Hussey Seating Co. in North Berwick and the sixth generation to lead the family-owned business, died in June at age 59. Hussey was an active member in Maine’s business and development community. He was the chairman of Educate Maine, a school board member in Regional School Unit 21, and served on the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine Economic Growth Council.


Clara Keezer Neptune works on a basket in her home at the Pleasant Point reservation in Perry in 2003. Keezer died Tuesday in Calais, a day before her 86th birthday. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Clara Keezer Neptune works on a basket in her home at the Pleasant Point reservation in Perry in 2003. Keezer died Tuesday in Calais, a day before her 86th birthday.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

CLARA NEPTUNE KEEZER, a Maine basketmaker who was considered a “giant” in her field, died in Calais in August, one day shy of her 86th birthday. Keezer received a National Heritage Fellowship, the country’s highest honor in traditional arts. She was known for her skills as a basketmaker and her willingness to share her knowledge.


DAVID KERRY, a prominent Saco businessman and former state senator, teacher and coach, died in September at age 77. Kerry co-owned both Traditions Italian Restaurant and the popular Kerrymen Pub in Saco. He was a retired history teacher and football coach at Biddeford High School.


Sculptor Cabot Lyford, who died Thursday at a Brunswick hospice, had told friends that when he was no longer able to carve and paint, it would be time for him to pass away. Telegram file photo

Sculptor Cabot Lyford, who died Thursday at a Brunswick hospice, had told friends that when he was no longer able to carve and paint, it would be time for him to pass away.
Telegram file photo

CABOT LYFORD, a prolific and successful sculptor, died in January at age 90. He lived a private life on the Maine coast, carving elegant renderings of the female figure and all forms of wildlife in granite and wood. His carvings are in schools, museums, parks and public spaces across Maine and the country.


Lynch sitting outside

Lynch sitting outside

FREDERICK LYNCH, one of Maine’s leading abstract painters, died in July at age 80. He left behind a legacy of steady excellence that he achieved through hard work and an unwavering commitment to a bold, contemporary vision. Lynch, who lived in Saco, worked at his art until days before he died of cancer, and an exhibition of new work opened in Boston right after he died.


Lucie McNulty attended Seaford High School on Long Island and graduated in 1964.

Lucie McNulty attended Seaford High School on Long Island and graduated in 1964.

LUCIE McNULTY, a former New York music teacher who retired to Maine and retreated from the world, died several years ago and her remains were discovered in her Wells home in January. The circumstances of McNulty’s death touched many strangers who wondered how it could have happened. McNulty cultivated her privacy after a three-decade career teaching. She also gave private lessons and performed in several orchestras and philharmonic groups in Greater Buffalo, including the Erie County Wind Ensemble.


Cyndimae Meehan slides in the snow shortly after moving to Maine. Her epilepsy left her “a shell of a child” before cannabis treatment allowed her to run, laugh and swim.

Cyndimae Meehan slides in the snow shortly after moving to Maine. Her epilepsy left her “a shell of a child” before cannabis treatment allowed her to run, laugh and swim. Family photo

CYNDIMAE MEEHAN, who moved from Connecticut to Maine so she could receive cannabis to treat a rare form of epilepsy, died in March at age 13. Her mother brought her to Maine to get access to medical marijuana after failed attempts to treat her frequent seizures using federally approved drugs. Family members said medical marijuana helped her regain her strength. Connecticut doesn’t allow pediatric medical marijuana use.


WALTER NORTON, who quietly conserved stunning seaside farmland and whose generosity was instrumental in the foundation of the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, died in May at age 91. He was a civil engineer and insurance executive, but in his private life, he and his wife, Helen, were fierce protectors of Maine’s environment, supporting organizations such as the Maine Farmland Trust, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.


Fred Nutter

Fred Nutter Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

FRED NUTTER, known to a generation of Mainers for delivering daily editorials at the end of the evening TV news, died in February at age 82. Nutter grew up in Alfred and spent more than 40 years covering Maine news beginning with WCSH radio in 1965 and ending with WCSH television (Channel 6) in 2009. Nutter covered Portland City Hall, the State House and became the station’s news director, but was probably best known as its editorial director.


Denis Nye

Denis Nye

DENIS NYE, a longtime contributor to the Portland arts scene, died in July at age 51, leaving Portland with a creative void. Nye was instrumental in opening the Dead Space Gallery, an early venue for local art, music, spoken word and performance, and was key in developing Sacred and Profane, the yearly arts festival on Peaks Island. He was active in the local theater and music scenes, and spent considerable energy making sure Congress Square remained a public space.


Paul Oberst was an artist from Freedom.

Paul Oberst was an artist from Freedom. Courtesy Photo

PAUL OBERST, a Freedom artist known for his funky, banded poles and posts that have long been on view at Corey Daniels Gallery in Wells, died in December at age 61. Over his career, he worked in various mediums, including printmaking, drawing, sculpture, architecture and video. Oberst was an arts fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His work is included in this year’s biennial at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland.


Staff photo by Gregory Rec -- Friday, August 1, 2003 -- The Troubadors, from left, Roland Bergeron on banjo, Armand Paquette on fiddle, Jim Robichaud on guitar, Red Soucy on guitar and Bill Brown playing the spoons playing at Saco City Hall on Friday.

Staff photo by Gregory Rec — Friday, August 1, 2003 — The Troubadors, from left, Roland Bergeron on banjo, Armand Paquette on fiddle, Jim Robichaud on guitar, Red Soucy on guitar and Bill Brown playing the spoons playing at Saco City Hall on Friday.

ARMAND E. PAQUETTE, who retired as deputy fire chief at the Saco Fire Department after 27 years of service, died in October at age 94. Paquette also was an avid fiddle player, performing with various bands, including the Ken McKenzie Orchestra and Pard and the Countrymen. He was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 1991.


John W. Payson established the Joan Whitney Payson Gallery of Art at what is now the University of New England in Portland.

John W. Payson established the Joan Whitney Payson Gallery of Art at what is now the University of New England in Portland. Photo courtesy Payson family

JOHN W. PAYSON, a philanthropist who once displayed a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece in an out-of-the-way Portland gallery, died in October at age 76. Heir to one of the oldest and wealthiest families in the country, Payson opened an art gallery at what was then Westbrook College on Stevens Avenue. Among the works was “Irises” by van Gogh, which his mother bought in 1947 for $84,000 and he sold, in 1987, for $53.9 million. The painting is now owned and displayed at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.


Robert Philbrick is in the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honor.

Robert Philbrick is in the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honor. Family photo

ROBERT PHILBRICK, a math teacher and dedicated coach at South Portland Memorial Junior High School who inspired kids on and off the field, died in January at age 82. Philbrick was a longtime field director and zone commissioner for American Legion baseball, and served as recreation director for the town of Gorham for more than 12 years. In 1988, he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honor in 2006.


Robert and Lucille Robinson met at a party at Boston College in 1951. Lucille was impressed when Robert, a law student, rattled off times for Mass services.

Robert and Lucille Robinson met at a party at Boston College in 1951. Lucille was impressed when Robert, a law student, rattled off times for Mass services. Photo courtesy of Robinson family

ROBERT and LUCILLE ROBINSON were married 65 years and died in April within hours of each other after spending their last days side-by-side in hospice. Lucille, a nurse, was director of clinical instruction at the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. Robert, an attorney, was general counsel for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. They both served in the military during World War II. Lucille was in the Navy and treated wounded soldiers at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Robert was in the Army and served with the 188th Engineering Battalion.


Wayne Ross, former president of Southern Maine Technical College, died Monday at age 80.

Wayne Ross, former president of Southern Maine Technical College, died Monday at age 80.

WAYNE ROSS, a former longtime president of what would become Southern Maine Community College, died in November at age 80. Ross was appointed director of Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1979, and his title changed to president when it became Southern Maine Technical College. He retired in 2002, shortly before it became Southern Maine Community College. Ross was an active volunteer, serving as a board member or leader of many charitable and civic organizations.


Elliott Schwartz taught at Bowdoin College from 1964 until 2007.

Elliott Schwartz taught at Bowdoin College from 1964 until 2007. File Photo

ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ, one of Maine’s most influential composers of classical music, died in December at age 80. Schwartz composed one piece of music based on Facebook posts, with musicians reading the posts. His 1966 piece “Elevator Music” was performed by 12 small groups on various floors of a building, while the audience rode the elevator and stopped at each floor. Born in New York City, he taught at Bowdoin College from 1964 to 2007.


Graham Shimmield

Graham Shimmield Photo courtesy Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

GRAHAM SHIMMIELD, a scientist who led Maine’s Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences through a time of transformation, died in December at age 58. As executive director, Shimmield oversaw a dramatic expansion of the East Boothbay research lab’s facility and mission, including the construction of a $32 million, 60,000-square-foot research and education “campus.”


Photographer Mason Philip Smith

Photographer Mason Philip Smith

MASON PHILIP SMITH, a Maine photographer known for his portraits and Congress Street studio, died in November at age 83. Smith started his career as a photojournalist and embraced formality as an artist, both in his 30 years as one of Maine’s leading portrait photographers – a period during which he likely shot thousands of Maine brides, students and professionals – and in his fine arts photography, which he began in earnest after he retired in 1993.


Lois Snowe-Mello, a Republican who represented Poland in both chambers of the Maine Legislature.

Lois Snowe-Mello, a Republican who represented Poland in both chambers of the Maine Legislature. Doug Jones/Staff Photographer

LOIS SNOWE-MELLO, a former state legislator from Poland, died in January at age 67. A Republican, Snowe-Mello served both in the Maine House of Representatives and Senate. In 2006, she was named a “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Association of Business in Maine. She also served at various times on the Maine GOP State Committee, on the Androscoggin GOP Committee, and the Poland GOP Committee.


Josh Titus attended a 2009 men's NCAA Final Four game in Detroit.

Josh Titus attended a 2009 men’s NCAA Final Four game in Detroit. Courtesy Photo

JOSH TITUS, who inspired thousands of basketball fans across the nation by not letting his disability keep him off the court, died in April at age 25. Titus, who was autistic, served as the manager of the Edward Little High School boys’ basketball team in 2009. He made national headlines when he entered the Red Eddies’ final game of the season and scored nine points.


A lifelong fisherman, Bill Townsend was a passionate advocate for cleaner rivers and restoring fish passage around dams.

A lifelong fisherman, Bill Townsend was a passionate advocate for cleaner rivers and restoring fish passage around dams. Kennebec Journal File Photo

CLINTON ‘BILL’ TOWNSEND, a prominent figure in Maine’s conservation community, died in December at age 89. A Skowhegan attorney, he was best known for his environmental work, particularly river health. He was president of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and served on the boards of numerous environmental groups. Townsend was an advocate for restoring fish passage around dams and worked on the creation of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.


Geraldine Waterhouse set up a $1.5 million endowment to help Kennebunk officials create the Waterhouse Center. “When I was young, I loved skating,” she said. “My memories went back to that and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a skating rink for the children.’ ” Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Geraldine Waterhouse set up a $1.5 million endowment to help Kennebunk officials create the Waterhouse Center. “When I was young, I loved skating,” she said. “My memories went back to that and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a skating rink for the children.’ ”
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

GERALDINE WATERHOUSE, whose generosity created a free ice skating rink in downtown Kennebunk, died in February at age 95. Waterhouse’s $1.5 million endowment sparked a fundraising campaign to build the 11,000-square-foot Waterhouse Center, an open-air pavilion with an ice rink that is also used for community concerts and other events. The endowment generates the money to maintain the facility and pay for educational and recreational activities. All events there are free.

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