November 10, 2013

Feature obituary: Bill Troubh, 78, former Portland mayor who wanted the best for the city's people

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Bill Troubh grew up on Sherman Street, which was not necessarily the nicest part of Portland.

click image to enlarge

Former Eastern League president Bill Troubh, right, talks with Charlie Eshbach, Portland Sea Dogs team president, at a Sea Dogs game in May.

John Ewing/2013 File photo

But he succeeded, going on to college and law school, founding a law firm and eventually serving as mayor of Portland for two terms.

“He didn’t have much, but there was a support system there that helped him lead the life that he did,” one of his four sons, Jed Troubh, said Saturday, the day after Mr. Troubh died of a heart attack at age 78.

What Mr. Troubh wanted most, his son said, was the same for others growing up in Portland.

Mr. Troubh’s focus while serving on the Portland City Council and afterward was making sure Portlanders had places to go and things to do. While in office, he was instrumental in creating the Portland Ice Arena. He brought together Daniel Burke, at the time a part-time Kennebunk resident and media executive, and city officials to help land the Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team. He then served as president of the Eastern League, which included the AA Sea Dogs, for six years and also was a trustee of the Cumberland County Civic Center, helping to oversee the recent renovation of the arena.

“He always thought big and wanted to see big things for the people of Portland,” said another son, Kenneth Troubh.

Mr. Troubh also built a successful law firm – Troubh, Heisler – but made sure to carve out time for his children, his sons said.

“He had four boys and we all played youth hockey, with those early-morning trips,” Mikael Troubh said. “It didn’t matter where it was, he was there.”

Jed Troubh said his father’s sport growing up had been basketball and his favorite as an adult was golf, but when he saw an opportunity for Portland to get a minor league baseball team with an expansion of the Eastern League, he threw his effort into it and worked behind the scenes to get what would become the Sea Dogs into Hadlock Field, at the time a high school diamond with metal bleachers. Burke put up the money for the team and Mr. Troubh was part of the effort to persuade city officials to spend about $2 million to upgrade Hadlock to the Eastern League’s requirements for a ballpark.

When the team arrived in 1994, Mr. Troubh settled into his seat behind the home team’s dugout and was there virtually every game since, Mikael Troubh said. “He’s been to every game he could get to, same seats, since the beginning.”

“Every time we went to a Sea Dogs game with him, his greatest thrill was looking into the stands and seeing families there ... having a good time,” he said.

Later, Mr. Troubh became the Eastern League’s president, replacing Charlie Eshbach, who became general manager of the Sea Dogs.

His sons said their father also enjoyed politics – not so much his own races for the council, but state and national elections.

“He would always stay up until the final results were in,” Kenneth Troubh recalled. “He enjoyed the fight a little bit.”

Jed Troubh said his father particularly enjoyed an outing this past summer, when his four sons brought their nine children to the Ice Arena for some skating time.

“It was an incredible experience,” he said. “It was one of his best days.”

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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