Francis J. Guthrie, 76: Marketing and advertising pioneer

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PORTLAND — Francis J. Guthrie, 76, died March 13 at Maine Medical Center, following a long illness.

He was born March 18, 1937, in Boston, Mass., the son of Francis and Grace Guthrie. He grew up in Belmont, Mass., and Little Falls, N.Y., where he was educated at St. Mary’s High School. He earned a bachelor’s from Siena College where he was active in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and was a member of the varsity golf team. He also earned an executive management degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1987.

An avid golfer, he was a longtime member of Portland Country Club, where he established many of his relationships. Guthrie was also one of the founders of Falmouth Country Club, where he later served as club president.

Guthrie was an accomplished marketing and advertising executive, he began his career in 1958 with Hicks & Greist in New York. An innovator in his field, he was among the first in the advertising industry to pioneer the sports celebrity endorsement as an important brand communication channel for marketers.

His most notable work included signing New York Jets star, Joe Namath to endorse a line of hot air popcorn poppers for his client, Hamilton Beach. In 1975, he joined Union Mutual Life Insurance in Portland, where he worked for 14 years. In 1989, he formed the Guthrie Group, an award-winning, strategic marketing and advertising firm in Portland.

Guthrie always had a passion for using his experience, talent and marketing expertise to benefit nonprofit organizations and agencies throughout the greater Portland area. He was also a long-time board member and trustee of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.

He was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Marion; his parents, Francis and Grace; and a brother, James.

He is survived by two sons, Brian Guthrie and wife, Susan, and their two children, Brendan and Caitlin, all of Cape Elizabeth, and Drew Guthrie of Cape Elizabeth; sister, Constance McGlynn, of Florida; and several nieces and nephews.

Guthrie accomplished much during his lifetime, and he will be remembered for the love he had for his family and friends, his integrity and for the many lives he touched, professionally and personally.

The Guthrie family would like to extend appreciation to the physicians and staffs of Maine Medical Center, Maine Health Network, Mercy Hospital, InterMed, New England Rehabilitation Hospital, Fore River Urology, the Visiting Nurses Association and to the Cape Elizabeth Police, Fire and Rescue teams. They are most grateful for all the kindness, care and professionalism.

Visiting hours will be held 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Church, 8 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth on March 20, at 10 a.m.

Interment will take place on a future date to be determined. A reception will follow shortly after the Mass, location to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Visit for more information.

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