Lucius M. Schurman, 88: Amateur historian cared for the living and the dead

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Lucius M. Schurman, 88, died Aug. 14, surrounded by his family, after a massive brain injury.

He was born July 17, 1927, in Cutler, the oldest of eight children of Ira Bliss and Juanita Ackley Schurman. He attended school in Cutler and the University of Maine at Gorham.

Shortly after the death of his father in 1944, Schurman, age 17, enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After basic training in Geneva, New York, he was assigned to the light cruiser USS Amsterdam. His tour of duty took him to Trinidad, Panama and Hawaii. In the final months of World War II, he was with the Seventh Fleet in Tokyo Bay. At the close of the war, he was transferred to the destroyer USS Clarence K. Bronson, where he finished his enlistment.

Schurman settled in South Portland, where he studied store management and meat cutting under the G.I. Bill. For nearly 25 years, he worked as the meat department manager for Goodwin’s Red and White supermarket. In the late 1960s, he was employed by Service Master of Boston as the housekeeping coordinator at Mercy Hospital.

Schurman was forced to retire early by a post-traumatic stress disorder related to his military service. But at age 56, he returned to work, serving in the funeral industry. After two years at Hay and Peabody Funeral Home, he was hired by the Hobbs Funeral Home in South Portland, where he worked into his late 70s.

Schurman was fascinated by history and family genealogy. After making several trips to Canada, he was able to trace his ancestry back to William the Loyalist, who settled in Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, in the 16th century, traveling from New Amsterdam, New York. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife, Marjorie, along the Maine coast and spending time in Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor and Canada.

Schurman was an active member of the South Portland Church of the Nazarene. There, he served in many roles, including as a Sunday school teacher, assistant superintendent, trustee, steward on the church board, choir member, soloist and greeter.

He was known for his Down East sense of humor, his knowledge of the community and its residents, and his ability to make others comfortable even in difficult circumstances.

Schurman was predeceased by his wife, Marjorie (Libby) Schurman, who died of breast cancer on July 14, 2011.

He is survived by his two sons, Paul M. Schurman, of Oklahoma City, and David H. Schurman, of South Portland; two daughters, Beth L. Schurman, of Portland, and Heather D. Schurman Grass, of Sebago; grandchildren, Brent N. Schurman, Sean D. Schurman, Melissa D. Schurman, Ayden Scott Grass and Liam Sean Grass; great-grandchildren, Ian and William; and two sisters, Janice Santillo, of Meriden, Connecticut, and Virginia McGuire, of Cutler.

Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 21, at the South Portland Church of the Nazarene, 525 Highland Ave., South Portland. Interment will be at Black Point Cemetery, Scarborough.

In lieu of flowers, donations to The Parkinson’s Disease Association or the Susan B. Komen Foundation are greatly appreciated.

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