Daniel J. Desmond, a prominent Westbrook attorney who handled cases in real estate law and estate planning, died Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 73.

A longtime Portland resident, Mr. Desmond was remembered Wednesday as a devoted family man who generously gave back to the community.

He earned his law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland in 1974. He started his own law firm as a general practice attorney, handling a wide range of cases in various practice areas, and later specialized in real estate and estate planning at his law office, Desmond & Rand in Westbrook. He practiced law for more than 40 years.

Throughout his career, Mr. Desmond was active in the Cumberland County Bar Association, serving a stint as president.

Cheryl Desmond, his wife for nearly 48 years, said he was a man of integrity who worked hard for his clients and was respected by his colleagues.

“He used to go into court and people would call him ‘Mr. Blue Eyes,’ ” his wife said. “He had vibrant blue eyes. Everyone loved him.”

His wife reflected on their early years Wednesday, noting they grew up together and started dating when they were 15 years old. They got married nine years later.

The Desmonds were longtime residents of Parsons Road in Portland, where they raised three children. Their only daughter, Elizabeth McKee, died from a brain aneurysm in 2011.

His wife expressed gratitude for the life they shared together. She said they would have celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

“He was the love of my life and my best friend,” she said. “Not only was he a great husband and wonderful friend to everyone, he was the best father our children could have ever had.”

His son, Dr. James Desmond of Liberia, Africa, said he was a great father who supported his children throughout their lives. He said his father fostered his interest in veterinary medicine.

James Desmond currently researches emerging infectious diseases. He and his wife, Jenny, founded a chimpanzee sanctuary, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection.

“I know he was really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” his son said.

Mr. Desmond served as president of the board of trustees for Westbrook Community Hospital. He also served for a time on the State Board of Assessment Review, which hears property tax appeals from taxpayers.

Mr. Desmond was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Portland Country Club. His wife said he had many friends who admired him for his warmth, humor, strength and integrity.

“He was so humble, but he had the greatest sense of humor,” she said. “He could make anyone smile. He always had a twinkle in his eye.”

Mr. Desmond was diagnosed with prostate cancer 14 years ago. After 10 years it returned. His wife said he fought so hard to live, but his cancer was just too aggressive.

“It’s going to be very hard,” she said. “We’ve had a happy life … a good life. We had our bumps in the road like everyone, but we were always able to laugh and get through it. I feel very fortunate. I’m so blessed to have had the life I did with Dan. We were very happy.”

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

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