Robert A. Marden
Robert Allen Marden died at his Waterville home on Oct. 29 at the age of 90.
“Bob,” as his friends knew him, was born in Waterville on Jan. 4, 1927, the son of Harold Chesterfield Marden and Dorothy Harlow Marden. Bob and his siblings, Roberta (Alden) currently of Yarmouth, Harry, now of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, and Don, of Belgrade, enjoyed a central Maine upbringing full of studies, sports, music, and summers at the family camp his Dad built at Ocean Point in Boothbay.
Like all others at that time, Bob’s youth was upended by World War II. His father, as part of the Maine National Guard’s 43rd Infantry Troup G, was called into duty. Dorothy moved the family to St. Augustine, Florida, for two years so that the children could be closer to their Dad. This experience exposed a small town boy to the cruelties of a segregated South leaving a lifelong impression. Upon the family’s return to Waterville, Bob continued to excel; he became an Eagle Scout, played trombone in a number of local bands, including the “Jive Bombers,” and rode the bench as a member of Coach Wally Donovan’s 1944 New England championship basketball team.
Bob left in the middle of his senior year in high school to join the U.S. Navy where he became an aerial gunner and aviation radio man. Through good fortune, the war came to an abrupt end, and he was discharged after two years of service. Bob returned to Waterville where he attended Colby College, married his high school “steady,” Shirley “Scoop” Marshall, in 1949, and moved to Boston where he completed his legal studies at Boston University Law School.
Upon graduating, Bob joined his Dad’s Waterville law firm which included at that time Cyril Joly. In his early years of legal practice, Bob served on the Waterville City Council alongside his close friend, Mayor Richard Dubord. Bob also served as assistant county attorney and later county attorney for Kennebec County. He later served two terms as a state senator, serving his last year as president of the senate. During this period, Bob and Dick Dubord merged their separate law practices forming what continues to this day as Marden, Dubord, Bernier & Stevens.
Throughout his career, Bob was active in a number of groups that included the Maine State Bar Association, the Boy Scouts, the Rotary Club, and the Pine Tree Society for Handicapped Children and Adults. He served for many years on the board of Thayer Hospital. He was a founder of the Kennebec Somerset Mental Health Association. He was named a trustee emeritus for his years of service as a trustee of Colby College. He served many years on the board of the Waterville Savings Bank and participated in its development into what is now TD Bank. In his later years, Bob took great pleasure in serving on the board of the Alfond Foundation and was a strong supporter of the Waterville Opera House and the Alfond Youth Center.
Throughout his life, Bob and his family enjoyed the best of what Maine has to offer, including downhill skiing at Sugarloaf, summers at his beloved “camp” at Ocean Point, boating throughout the Boothbay area, golf and tennis whenever possible. Bob experienced immeasurable happiness from music. From high school jazz ensembles and Navy bands to his sessions with the Al Corey Band and later with the Dixieland group known as the “Elders,” he had the privilege of playing music with close friends — with highlight performances at the New York and Montreal World Fairs representing the state of Maine. His family came to accept his bursting into song in public as normal behavior. He received more than one warning for excessive noise with his car-top down and radio blaring a John Philips Souza march.
Bob’s tempo was slowed in 1995 when he suffered a stroke, leaving him unable to fully enjoy many of his pleasures. With the steadfast attention, astounding energy, and dry wit of his wife, Scoop, he managed to forge his way through the last years of his life by reading, taking car rides along the endless byways of Maine, boating, and (of course) bursting into song. Perhaps it was this challenge above all others that allowed Bob to fully display his strength of character. If his quick wit and humor offended, please forgive him.
Bob is survived by his wife, Scoop, of Waterville, and his children: Eric and wife Jenny of Boothbay; Holly and husband Paché of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bob and wife Lydia of Oakland, Maine; and Sharon and husband Bob of China, Maine; grandchildren: Brad and wife Katie of Homer, Alaska; Sadie of Portland; Zachary of Jacksonville, Florida; Hannah and partner Rob of Boothbay; Anna and husband Rick of Richmond; Lindsey and partner Brady of St. Louis, Missouri; Ileana of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and great-grandchildren Maddox, Renn, and Molly.
The family extends its heartfelt thanks to all who have assisted in Bob’s care over these past many years including most recently: Dr. Harry Colt and the staff of Maine Dartmouth Family Practice, MaineGeneral Medical Center, its Wound Clinic (Dr. Sauer) and its Palliative Care Department (Dr. Dohner), together with their many skilled nurses, and the staff of Park Residences. Special thanks is conveyed to Amy Singh who provided loving personal care to Bob during his last months.
We invite you to join us at the Colby College Parker Reed Room, Schair Swenson Watson Alumni Center on Friday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. to visit and remember a life well lived. A family gathering at Ocean Point is also planned for this upcoming summer.