Bernard M. Devine ’49

Bernard M. Devine ’49 died on December 11, 2017, in Portland, Maine.

(The following was published in the Press Herald on December 17, 2017:)

PORTLAND – The Honorable Bernard “Ben” Maney Devine of Falmouth, Maine, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and distinguished judge, peacefully passed away on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, surrounded by his loving family. Ben was born on Dec. 18, 1924, in Portland, one of four boys born to Mary Duddy Devine and John James Devine.

He grew up on Hillside Avenue in South Portland and graduated from South Portland High School in 1942. At age 18, he promptly answered the call of duty to his country during World War II by enlisting in the army and serving in India, Burma, and China. His family takes great pride that all four Devine brothers left their family home simultaneously and willingly placed themselves in harm’s way through deployments around the world.

After the war, he attended and graduated from Bowdoin College, where he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Class of 1949. Ben was a life-long supporter and enthusiastic alumnus of the college. His Bowdoin legacy began with his father graduating from the school in the Class of 1911 and continued through the 1980s when all four of his children received degrees from Bowdoin. This legacy extends to the present, with two grandsons recently graduating from the school and a granddaughter graduating in the Class of 2018. He earned his law degree in 1952 from Boston University Law School and proceeded to join his brother and father in the firm of Devine, Devine & Devine on Exchange Street in Portland, Maine. His judicial career began in 1956 when he was appointed a Municipal Court judge.

In 1957, Ben married his best friend, Anne Rogers, with whom he raised four children on Goudy Street in South Portland. They enjoyed many happy years and made life-long friends while becoming involved members of the South Portland community. During this time, Ben and Anne especially enjoyed numerous European trips with friends, weekend family ski excursions, and annual winter get-a-ways to Florida.

In 1965 Ben was appointed to the newly established Maine District Court and was elevated to the position of Chief Judge in 1981. Upon his retirement, his over 40 years of service to the Maine judiciary was recognized when the Ninth Maine District Court in Portland was named after him. His family members recall often being stopped by acquaintances and strangers alike on the streets of Portland who had presented or stood before Judge Devine. Many were so moved by their experience that they would share their story of how their life or career had been changed for the better by his firm, fair and compassionate manner. In one such story, a young man recalled, “I was not afraid of what my parents thought of me, but I didn’t want to let Judge Devine down.” Throughout his judicial service, Ben was committed to the safety and rehabilitation of at-risk Maine youths. He also supported organizations and institutions that served to better the lives of these individuals. In 1987, he received the Friend of Children Award from the Child Welfare League of America, and in 2001, the Maine Judicial Branch recognized him for his “faithful and dedicated service” to the children of Maine.

In contrast to his formidable presence in the courtroom, Ben was a gentle spirit and equally loving husband, father, and grandfather. He and Anne took great pleasure in spending time with friends and family. He loved all animals and was known to dote on the family pets throughout the years. An avid sportsman, Ben particularly enjoyed the game of golf. Lifelong friendships and athletic successes were equally treasured prizes from his over 50 years of membership at the Portland Country Club.

In his retirement, he relished the opportunity to be an active part of his children’s and grandchildren’s lives, rarely missing a rite of passage, sporting event or performance.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Anne; two daughters, Megan Dion and her husband Peter, Anne Devine and her husband Mark Fernandez, two sons, Bernard Devine, Jr. and his wife Sheila, John Devine and his wife Suzette; and ten grandchildren, Alexandra and Conley Dion; Drew, Reed and Leigh Fernandez; Grace and Maeve Devine; and Addie, John and Sam Devine. His loved ones have but grace and gratitude for the time he had with us.

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