Philip Isaacson

AUBURN - Philip Isaacson, 89, lived an extraordinarily rich and vibrant life. At age 88, he worked full-time at his law firm, traveled to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, skied challenging terrain in the Rockies, wrote his regular newspaper column on art and architecture and devoted time to his family and many friends. He passed away June 20, 2013. Philip was born June 16, 1924, in Lewiston, to Harris Meyer Isaacson and Goldie Resnick Isaacson.

He graduated from Hebron Academy, Bates College, Phi Beta Kappa, and Harvard Law School, and he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He received honorary doctorates from Bates College and Bowdoin College. He was a prolific photographer, primarily of architecture, and wrote three well-regarded books on art and architecture, two of which featured his photographs: The American Eagle; Round Buildings, Square Buildings, and Buildings that Wiggle Like a Fish; and A Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art. He was devoted to supporting the arts community in Maine and authored a regular column in the Maine Sunday Telegram reviewing Maine art exhibits. The Maine Times named him Maine's most cultured man. Philip had a commitment to public service. Among his many positions, he served as chairman of the Board of Finance for the City of Lewiston, member of the Board of Trustees for the Lewiston Public Library, chairman of the Maine State Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Maine representative to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and member of the Federal Study Committee to the National Endowment for the Arts. In a distinguished legal career lasting more than 60 years, Philip worked in private practice in Lewiston. After graduating law school in 1950, he joined his father in the firm of Isaacson & Isaacson, later renamed Isaacson, Hark & Epstein, and worked from 1986 until his death at the successor firm of Isaacson & Raymond. Although he had a broad knowledge of the law and represented clients from all walks of life, he concentrated his practice in business and real estate transactions and estate planning. He traveled extensively, visiting places as Mali, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan, as well as dozens of more commonly visited destinations. He loved spending time in the mountains, both skiing and hiking. Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Aspen and Vail were favorite destinations, and he celebrated his 85th birthday by climbing Mount Washington with 11 family members. He also trekked to the base of Mount Everest and climbed Mount Rainier.

In 1952, he married the former Deborah Rosen, who predeceased him. Survivors include his very dear friend, Mary Hatch (Boothbay); his children, Elizabeth Isaacson and husband, Steven Triedman, of Providence, R.I., Thomas Isaacson and partner, Anne Watson, of Boulder, Colo., and John Isaacson and wife, Linda Isaacson, of Cumberland; grandchildren, Andrew Lefebvre, Sarah Lefebvre, Julia Isaacson and Jacob Isaacson; sister, Marilyn I. Simonds of Auburn; and three nieces and two nephews. Although Phil traveled the world, he was always proud to call Lewiston home.

Services will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, at Temple Shalom, Auburn. A period of mourning will be observed 7-9 p.m. Sunday, and Monday, at his late residence. Interment will be at Beth Jacob Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to Museum L-A or the Lewiston Public Library. Condolences and donations may be accessed online at

Published in BDN Maine on June 21, 2013