Edward J. Legere ’51 died on January 7, 2023, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
(The following was provided by the Maine Sunday Telegram on January 22, 2023)
CAPE ELIZABETH – Edward James Legere passed away on January 7, 2023, after a brief illness.
Edward was born February 8, 1928, to Philip J. and Marie (Hamanne) Legere in Portland. He was the sixth of nine children.
Edd was always a very active child. Growing up in the Depression he was motivated to go to work early on to help his family. Early jobs included a morning paper route and when he was nine he began caddying at Prouts Neck Country Club, where he started a lifelong passion for golf. Edd attended South Portland schools and excelled in athletics becoming a high scorer as a halfback on the football team and point guard for the basketball team, lettering in both sports. The newspapers at the time called him “Little Eddy Legere” a name he was not fond of, mainly because he preferred Edd.
After graduating in 1946, Edd, like all of his siblings, enlisted for military service. Not wanting to do it the easy way he joined the Marine Corps. Since the war had ended he continued to play football and basketball for the Corps in between his training. He was honorably discharged in May of 1947 and enrolled in the University of Maine and then Bowdoin College. He continued his participation in sports, and graduated in 1951 with a B.A. in economics.
In 1943 at the age of fifteen he discovered a passion that would stay with him the rest of his life. At the urging of a family friend, he went to work at Casco Bay Lines as a deckhand on the steamboats. Every summer through high school and college was spent on the boats at CBL working his way up to mate, pilot, and eventually captain of passenger vessels. Upon graduation from Bowdoin Edd began his career in the insurance business with the Glens Falls Insurance Co. of New York and later with the National Fire Insurance Co. The National transferred him to their Minneapolis office in 1953, a move that changed the course of his life. Elsie Burr Calloway worked in that office. She lived with her mother on Lake Minnetonka and they offered to rent him a room. Edd got along great with his future mother-in-law (“The Colonel”) but it took a bit longer with Elsie. He was persistent though, and proceeded to buy a speed boat and teach Elsie to waterski. A year later he was transferred back to Maine, but after much correspondence they decided they needed to be together. Driving back to Minnesota in June 1955 they married, hitched the boat to the car and made the drive back their honeymoon. While waiting for their new home to be built in Shore Acres, Cape Elizabeth, they rented a cottage on Great Diamond Island, introducing Elsie to Casco Bay. The years 1956-1960 saw the birth of four children and it was soon obvious they needed a bigger house. On land that Edd had found for a bargain overlooking Broad Cove they began building their dream home, which was completed in 1963. Edward continued his career in the insurance industry, first with the National, later the Phoenix, and Continental Insurance companies .
He also continued to enjoy athletics, joining Purpoodock Golf Club and playing men’s league basketball (he did not quit basketball until his eyesight made it tough at age 61). He was foremost a great father, spending time with his children teaching them to work hard and play hard. He also got involved in the Cape Elizabeth Parks and Recreation as a Little League coach and a swim meet official. Other civic organizations he served with during this period included the Cape Elizabeth School Building Committee, and as long-time treasurer and president of the Cape Elizabeth Lions Club.
In 1969 Edd went to work for Maine Mutual Group Insurance based out of Presque Isle. In 1974 he was promoted to vice president and assistant general manager, and in 1977 to president and general manager, as well as chairman of the board. These promotions involved moving to the “county.” They kept the Cape house and rented a farm in Mapleton. With the kids gone, except for Beth, and Elsie looking for work, they moved back to Cape with Edd commuting down south on the weekends. Edd’s involvement in insurance trade organizations as president, chairman, or director are literally too numerous to list.
After retiring in 1989 he and Elsie bought a second home in Florida, on a golf course naturally. But Edd was not done yet. In 1986 he purchased a small tour boat company for the family to run and named it Eagle Tours. For the next twelve years he and his two sons (and anyone else in the family they could round up) took hundreds of people out to enjoy the wonders of Casco Bay. Edd’s passion for the ocean and Casco Bay and its history never waned. He worked part time for CBL until he moved to “the county,” (and legend has it he took the Sabino, the last steamboat in Casco Bay for its final paying run making him one of, if not the last, steamboat captain in the bay). He owned the Le Dauphin a 36-foot cabin cruiser for several years, as well as the boats of Eagle Tours.
After retiring as captain, Edd channeled his energy into maritime-related organizations including the Portland Marine Society, the Portland Harbor Museum, and the Spring Point Light House Association. If that was not enough, he was also a talented piano player (he played by ear), and in retirement took up painting and produced dozens of oil and watercolor paintings for his family to enjoy.
Edward was predeceased by his wife of nearly sixty-four years. He is survived by his brother, Gerard; son, Larry (wife Karen); daughter, Julianne Putnam (husband Bill); son, Paul (wife Pam); daughter, Elizabeth Boeve (husband Alan); grandchildren, Eric Thurlow, Adam Thurlow (Anne), Lewis Boeve, Jane Boeve, Alexandra Lyons(Wells), Cassandra Legere (John), Adrienne Jalbert (Andrew); great grandchildren, Mason Thurlow, Marjorie Lyons, Hallie Lyons.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Landing at Cape Elizabeth for their wonderful care of Elsie and Edd in their final years.