Merton Goodell Henry
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Merton Goodell Henry
He was born on February 4, 1926, on the family farm in West Hampden, Maine, the son of Donald M. Henry and Alda Goodell Henry. He was a direct Descendant of Robert Goodell who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1633.
He attended public schools in Hampden and South Portland. In Hampden, he was active in 4-H and a 65 year member of Eastern Star Grange No. 1. He graduated from South Portland High School with honors in 1944. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1950, Magna Cum Laude, with honors in History and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity. He graduated from George Washington University Law School in 1955 where he was a member of the Law Review.
He served in the U.S. Army in World War II from 1944 to 1946 rising from Private to First Sergeant with the 38th and 86th Divisions in the Philippine Islands. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, 1951 to 1953 as a First Lieutenant assigned to the Office of Military History where he was co-author of History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army, 1775-1945.
He was admitted to practice law in Maine in 1955, in the District of Columbia in 1956, and before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1958.
He served as Executive Secretary and Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Frederick G. Payne in Washington, D.C. from 1953-1958. He was an associate with the Portland law firm of Sheriff & Baird from 1959-1960. He was a Founding Partner of the Portland law firm Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry in 1961, and became Of Counsel to that firm in 1992.
He was a member of the Cumberland County, Maine State, and American Bar Associations. He was a Past President of the New England Bar Association and the Cumberland County Bar Association. He was a former Lecturer at the University of Maine School of Law. He was a former Chair of the Committee on Continuing Legal Education of the Maine State Bar Association. He was a founder and former Chair of the Maine Council of School Board Attorneys. He was a member and Chair of the Cleaves Law Library from 1969 to 1989. He was a member of the State Court Library Committee from 1981-1992. He was a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He was a Charter Fellow of the Maine Bar Foundation of which he served as a Director and Treasurer.
He was a lifelong active Republican serving on the Scarborough, Standish, and Portland Town and City Committees, the Cumberland County, First District, and Maine Republican Committees. He served as a volunteer on Senator Margaret Chase Smith's five campaigns for the U.S. Senate beginning in 1948. He was Chairman of the Maine Republican State Convention in 1980. He was an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964 and a Delegate in 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. He was Co-Chair of the Maine George H.W. Bush for President Committees in 1979-1980 and 1987-1988. In 1991 he served as Co-Chair of the Special Commission to Restructure Maine State Government, in 1995 he was a member of the Maine Productivity Realization Task Force and in 2006 he was a member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Dirigo Health. He served on two Portland City Charter Review Committees. He served as Chair of various local, Congressional, Gubernatorial and Senatorial campaigns. His only personal campaign was for the non-partisan Portland School Committee on which he served from 1966-1969 including as year as Chair. He served as Moderator of the Standish Town Meeting from 1980-1995.
He was a member of the Bowdoin College Board of Overseers from 1962-1974 and of the Board of Trustees from 1974-1987, serving as its first Chairman from 1981-1984, when that office was created. He chaired five major special committees at Bowdoin; Athletics in 1972, Governance in 1981, Fraternity Review in 1987-1988, Bicentennial, 1987-1994, and Governance from 1994-1996. He was a past president of the Bodoin Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He was elected a Trustee Emeritus in 1987.
He was actively involved with the Maine Medical Center beginning as a corporator in 1969, a Trustee from 1981-1997, a Trustee of the Foundation (now MaineHealth) from 1987-1996, Chair of both the Center and Foundation from 1988-1991 and an Honorary Trustee from 1997 until his death.
He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Portland Museum of Art, North Yarmouth Academy, WCBB, Child and Family Services, Hospice of Maine, Hospice of Southern Maine, Tate House Museum, the Muskie School of Public Service, the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, Scarborough Public Library, and the original Cumberland County Civic Center Board.
He was deeply involved with Maine philanthropic activities serving on the Board of the Maine Community Foundation from 1995 to 2004, on the Board and Chair of the Southern Maine Community College Foundation from 1998-2004, President of the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, President of the Vincent B. and Barbara G. Welch Foundation, a Trustee of the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, and of the Peters Medical Education Fund.
He served as a Chair of the Board of Directors of Maine Life Care Retirement Community, Inc. from 1996 -2001 during the planning and building of Piper Shores, Maine's first life care retirement community and remained active as a resident of that community until his death.
He was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland since 1958 serving on its Vestry, as Junior Warden, as Senior Warden and as a Layreader. He was Chair of the Building Committee when the new church was built in 1964-1965. He chaired three capital campaigns and four every member canvases at Trinity. He also served the Diocese of Maine as a member of its Diocesan Council, two separate terms on its Standing Committee and on various other committees.
He was the recipient of numerous awards for public service including Honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Bowdoin College in 1984, Northwood University in 1988, and St. Joseph's College in 1996.
He was a member of the Cumberland Club, the World Affairs Council of Maine, and the Maine Historical Society.
He was a former member of the Portland Club, Woodfords Club, Torch Club, and Portland Country Club.
He and his late wife traveled extensively. They particularly enjoyed visiting Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, China, and almost every European country. They participated in various Elderhostel trips in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Europe. His hobbies were gardening, genealogy, the Civil War, and reading.
He was predeceased by his wife of fifty years, Harriet Putnam Henry, Maine's first woman Judge, who died on September 11, 2004.
He is survived by his son, Donald Putnam Henry of Menlo Park, CA, and his wife, Dr. Lynn Smolik, and grandsons, Nicholas and Christopher; his son, Douglas Merton Henry of Winchester, MA, and his wife, Laura, and grandchildren, James and Sarah; his daughter, Martha Sheldon Henry of Cambridge, MA; and two sisters, Joyce H. Munier of Topsham, ME, and Elizabeth Lee Davis of Scarborough, ME.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, Coyle Street at Forest Avenue, Portland, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Interment at Pine Grove Cemetery, Brunswick, will be private. Arrangements are under the direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State Street, Portland. To view Merton's complete obituary, please visit www.ConroyTullyWalker.com
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Maine Humanities Council, Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book, 674 Brighton Avenue, Portland, Maine 04102.
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