Myer M. Marcus, 100: Local legal legend was friend to many

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PORTLAND — Myer M. Marcus, 100, a well-known Portland native, attorney and community member, died March 2 at The Cedars Nursing Care Center on Ocean Avenue.

Marcus was born June 23, 1914, atop a kitchen table in a coldwater flat on Munjoy Hill. The oldest child of Saul and Bertha Marcus, he excelled in the classroom and in most of his endeavors. He graduated from Portland High School, continued his education at the University of Virginia and at Bowdoin College, and received a law degree from Boston University.

During World War II, Marcus was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in India and several other countries. He rose to the rank of major. An avid golfer, he managed to find a golf course wherever he was stationed.

In Portland, Marcus set up a law practice with his brother, Harry, at 97A Exchange St. There he worked until his retirement at age 92. At that time, he was the oldest practicing attorney in Maine.

Marcus had an encyclopedic knowledge of the state’s people, business and legal affairs. He was once asked by the U.S. District Court for Maine to participate in an interview about his experience practicing law. The five-hour taped conversation is now part of the court’s archives. 

Marcus represented individuals and businesses throughout Maine and New England, but always found time for pro bono work. A gregarious man, he befriended his clients and came to know many people throughout the Portland community. Even as he aged, he loved to walk the streets of the Old Port, greeting those he encountered.

Marcus was predeceased by his wife, Frances Tabor Marcus; his brother and law partner, Harry Marcus; and his sister, Ann Stillman.

He is survived by two sons, Donald Ward and wife Ellen, and Paul Marcus and wife Janine, of Massachusetts; and a daughter, Joan Marcus and husband Jeff Kalajian, also of Massachusetts. Also surviving are five grandchildren: Michael Ward and wife Laura, Dean and Melany Kalajian, and Ian and Lindsay Marcus, as well as several nieces and nephews.

A funeral was held at Temple Beth El on March 5, with burial following at the Temple Beth El Memorial Park. Visitation and shiva were observed that afternoon at The Cedars.

The family has requested that donations in Marcus’ memory be made to the Frances Marcus Education Fund at the National Council of Jewish Women of Maine, 11 Birchwood Circle, Falmouth, ME 04105.

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