PORTLAND — The state of Maine has lost one of the true luminaries of the legal profession with the passing of Roger A. Putnam. Mr Putnam died on February 19, 2022 at the Veteran’s Home in Scarborough, surrounded by his family.
Roger was born October 20, 1925 in York, the son of Roger A. and Eleanor H. Putnam. His father was a practicing barrister in York and died before Roger was born. He received his education in public schools in York and Portsmouth, NH; and attended the University of New Hampshire, both before and after his service in World War II. As a loyal member of America’s greatest generation, Mr. Putnam served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers from December 1943 to May 1946 in European theater war zones in France and Germany, and in the South Pacific theater in the Philippines. He is.
Upon completion of his military service and return to UNH, Roger entered Boston University Law School where he received his LL.B. in 1951, and upon his call to the bar at the State of Maine, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Maine. He held this position until March 10, 1958, when he became a partner in the firm of Verrill Dana Walker Philbrick and Whitehouse, Portland.
Roger’s law practice has focused in the areas of advocacy, administrative law, public services, and legislative representation before the state legislature in Augusta. In 1973, a statewide newspaper described Mr. Putnam as “the man who has done more to change Maine’s lobbying profession than any other group or individual.” He was the latest in a generation of legal “generalists” and another measure of his abilities and skill was the reality that whenever a Maine attorney ran into significant difficulty, the first call was Roger.
He was active in Republican politics, serving in local and statewide activities and became chairman of the Maine State Republican Committee and a member of the Republican National Committee. He was the moderator of town meetings in Cape Elizabeth.
Roger was a dedicated, knowledgeable and accomplished lawyer, loved and deeply respected by his clients for his ideas and loyal representation. He served continuously at the highest level of Verrill Dana management and always put the interests of customers and the company first. He was a dedicated and successful mentor to dozens of young lawyers at the firm.
Based on his significant contributions to the practice of law, Mr. Putnam has received countless prestigious honors and accolades. He received the Muskie Access to Justice Award in 2008 for his commitment to the public good, a voice for eloquent civility with a passion for justice. He also received the Howard H. Dana, Jr. Award in 2004 from the Maine Justice Foundation for his efforts to improve access to civil legal aid for poor and vulnerable Mainers.
He was long-term director of the Nathan and Henry Cleaves Law Library and in recent years has been appointed advisory director. Additionally, in 2012, the Roger A. Putnam Fund was established at the University of Maine School of Law Foundation in his honor. The fund provides an annual paid summer internship at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic.
Roger is survived by his wife, Linda; and his children Roger III (wife Sally), Jeffrey (wife Kate), Michael (wife Bonnie) and Julie. He is also survived by seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two stepdaughters, Kim Anderson (Ted Roney) and Susan Gallant (husband Joe).
He was predeceased by his parents; and by his first wife, Elizabeth, the mother of his children.
The family is planning a memorial service in his memory later in the spring.
Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences can be expressed at http://www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Roger A. Putnam Fellowship Fund at the University of Maine Law School, Pine Tree Legal Assistance Inc., or a charity of their choice.
Obituary: Mary Linda Kelly Gleysteen