Vincent L. McKusick, 93: Leading Maine jurist loved law, friends, family

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FALMOUTH — Vincent Lee McKusick, 93, former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, died peacefully at Legacy Memory Care on Dec. 3.

McKusick was born Oct. 21, 1921, in Parkman, to Carroll L. and Ethel (Buzzell) McKusick.

The judge was educated at Guilford High School and graduated in 1943 from Bates College. He later obtained a master of science degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his law degree in 1950 from Harvard Law School.

McKusick served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946, spending 14 months on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

From 1950-1951, he served as a law clerk to Judge Learned Hand of the U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals. He then clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.

McKusick was appointed chief justice by Gov. James B. Longley Sr., and served in that capacity from Sept. 16, 1977, to Feb. 28, 1992. After his retirement from the bench, he returned to the Portland law firm of Pierce Atwood, where he had worked from 1952-1977.

McKusick was in the Pierce Atwood office five days a week until he turned 90, a colleague said.

He married Nancy Elizabeth Green, a physical therapist, in 1951. After a short time living in Portland, the couple made their home in Cape Elizabeth, where they raised their four children and continued to live until this year.

McKusick was known for his love of the law, his many friends and his family.

“We were deeply saddened by the news of Justice McKusick’s passing,” former Gov. John McKernan and his wife, former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, said in a statement.

“He was not only an individual of profound ability, but also one of great integrity, modesty, and kindness … Justice McKusick emerged as one of the brightest and most accomplished individuals our state has ever produced.”

He was predeceased by his identical twin brother, Victor A. McKusick, brothers Harry and Robert McKusick, and his sister, Grace McKusick Storms.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Nancy Elizabeth Green McKusick of Falmouth; children, Barbara McKusick Liscord, Jim McKusick, Kay McKusick Ralston and Anne Elizabeth McKusick; sons-in-law, Paul Liscord, Matt Ralston and Tom Anastasio; grandchildren, Emmy Liscord Spiegel and husband Peter Spiegel, Robert McKusick Liscord and wife Brittany Leonard Liscord, Gabriel McKusick, Meagan McKusick and husband Daymion Mardel, Nolan James McKusick, Natalie Anne McKusick, Scott McKusick Ralston, Elizabeth McKusick Ralston, Albert Thomas Anastasio and Grace Elizabeth Anastasio; and great-grandchildren, Holden Liscord Spiegel, Madison McKusick, Alexander McKusick and Sutherland Mardel.

A celebration of McKusick’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 28, at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, with the Rev. Christina Sillari officiating. A burial service will follow in the spring in Parkman.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pine Tree Legal Assistance Inc., Attention: Helen Meyer, P.O. Box 547, Portland, ME 04112.

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