Dr. William L. MacVane Jr., 95: Respected surgeon, former Portland mayor

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PORTLAND — Dr. William Leslie MacVane Jr., 95, died Aug. 1 surrounded by family.

Born in Portland on June 12, 1915, he was the son of  Dr. William L. MacVane Sr., and Bertha May Achorn.

He attended local schools, and went on to graduate from Hebron Academy, Williams College and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

As a child, he spent many happy summers at the family cottages on Long Island, and in Raymond. As an adult, he enjoyed summers at the family camp on Little Sebago Lake.

During World War II, he served as an Army officer with the 61st Portable Surgical Unit in the Philippines and Japan, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for performing major surgery under adverse conditions.

After his discharge from the Army as a major in 1946, he was the first surgical resident at Maine General Hospital. He was also the attending surgeon at the Togus V.A. Hospital, Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital and Portland City Hospital.

From 1953 to 1955, he was a resident in thoracic surgery in Oteen, N.C., and a fellow in thoracic surgery at George Washington University Hospital.

After returning to Maine, he continued to practice general and thoracic surgery.

In 1959 he  assisted Dr. Emerson Drake at Maine Medical Center in the first open heart surgery performed in Maine.

Later on, he served as a consultant in thoracic surgery at several hospitals and was a member of the executive committee at Mercy Hospital for 18 years.

In addition to his medical career, he was also active in local politics. From 1967 until 1976, he was a Portland City Councilor, and served a term as the Mayor of Portland.

Over the years he also served as a member of the Portland School Board and Portland Transit Authority, and chaired the Portland Bicentennial Committee, the Reiche School and Portland Public Library building committees.

He also served on the boards of the Portland YMCA, the Portland Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was an active member of the Portland Yacht Club, Portland Rotary Club, the Cumberland Club, the Western Maine Torch Club, the Masons and the Sigma Phi Society.

After retiring from surgery,  he spent 10 years with the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, surveying hospitals in the U. S., Europe and the Middle East.

His hobbies included reading, swimming, boating and playing tennis and badminton. In 1990, he was the New England seniors badminton doubles and singles champion.

He had a lifelong love of learning, and  attended courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine into his 90s.

His family will miss his sense of humor, wise counsel and whistling.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Margaret, and his brother, John.

Surviving are two daughters,  Lesley MacVane of Portland, and Margaret Murray and her husband David of Falmouth, and a son, Captain Forbes MacVane, U.S. Navy, and his wife Maria of Maryland, and two children  from his first marriage, William Harris and Patricia MacVane; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to thank the staff at 75 State Street, OceanView’s Falmouth House and  Maine Medical Center for the wonderful care provided to their father.

Funeral services will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to Mercy Hospital or to the American Red Cross of Southern Maine.