Robert S. Linnell ’53

Robert S. Linnell ’53 died on February 8, 2022, in Selah, Washington

(The following was provided by Yakima Herald-Republic on March 14, 2022)

Robert S. Linnell

Beloved father, brother, uncle, grandfather, great grandfather and friend of Selah, WA, passed away February 8th, 2022, at 90 years old. Born in Portland, Maine, March 13, 1931, Robert was the third child of William Shepherd and Jessie Hopkins Linnell. He attended Portland public schools and graduated from Deering High School in 1949. He then graduated from Bowdoin College in 1953. At Bowdoin he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, serving as president in 1952.

Following graduation from Bowdoin, Bob was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the medical company of the 103rd Regimental Combat Team, Maine Army National Guard, in which he had served since 1948. In June 195, he married the late Judith Brown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, which union produced three children, Jessica Parker Linnell, William Shepherd Linnell II, and Robert Shepherd Linnell, Jr.

Bob graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1956 and joined the Portland Law Firm of Linnell, Perkins, Thompson, Hinckley, and Thaxter following admission to the Maine Bar in 1957. In August 1957, he graduated from the basic infantry officer course in Fort Benning, Georgia, as a 1st lieutenant, USAR, and then became company commander of Company B, 103rd RCT. He was elected to the 99th Maine Legislature in 1958-1959, as a representative from the city of South Portland, serving on the Legal Affairs Committee and as House Speaker Pro Tem. In November 1961, Bob was appointed law clerk to Hon. Roger C. Foley, Chief US District Judge of the district of Nevada in Las Vegas and following his admission to the Nevada bar. In 1962, Attorney General Robert Kennedy named him an assistant US attorney for that district.

In 1963, he married the late Mary Sperlack of Portland in Las Vegas, adopting her son, Thomas. In 1968, he served as an attorney in the criminal division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in Los Angeles under US Attorney Mathew Byrne. He later returned to Las Vegas, having been named interim US Attorney for the District of Nevada by Chief Judge Foley.

In September 1968, Bob married Maureen Ann Brechbill (formerly Perkins) in Virginia City, Nevada, which union produce two children, Susan Mary Linnell and Robin Kathleen Linnell. Maureen was from Morton, Washington, and was then employed by the US Marshal for Nevada.

In January 1970, he was appointed as assistant US attorney for the Eastern District of Washington under the late Dean C. Smith. Upon Smith’s resignation, Chief US District Judge Marshall Neill appointed Bob to be Interim US Attorney for that district, thus making him the only person in modern times to serve as the US attorney in more than one district. Following the confirmation of a new US attorney by Senate, Bob returned to his job as assistant US attorney in Yakima, Washington, where he remained until retirement in February 1994. In addition to the Maine and Nevada state bars, Bob was admitted to practice before the United States District Courts of Maine, Nevada, Central California, Eastern Washington, Western Washington; the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and the United States Supreme Court.

He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of Hiram Lodge 180 in South Portland, Maine, since 1962. Bob was a charter member of Masada Shrine in Yakima. Bob was a life member of the Yakima Elks, having served as Exalted Ruler in 1991, and been named Elk of the Year in 2000. He was also a certified ritual judge.

He enjoyed hunting and fishing, wood working and vegetable and flower gardening. He was especially proud of his sweet corn, Green Mountain potatoes, and pom pom mums. Bob was a longtime member of the Yakima Gyro Club, having joined in 1972 and served as president in 1976. He also served for several years as an officer of the Linnell Family Association of North America, taking an active interest in the history of the Linnell Family from its origins on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and migrations to Maine.

Bob is survived by his wife, Maureen Ann Linnell of Selah, Washington; a daughter, Jessica Sullivan of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; a son, William S. Linnell II of Portland, Maine; a son, Thomas Linnell of Austin, Texas; a daughter, Susan Householder of Dennison, Ohio; a daughter, Robin Linnell of Delaware, Ohio; eleven grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Robert S. Linnell Jr., and sisters, Sarah McLeary and Nancy Cowan.

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