Vincent L. McKusick H’79

The Honorable Vincent L. McKusick H’79, former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, died December 3, 2014, in Falmouth. He was born on October 21, 1921, on a small dairy farm in Parkman, Maine, and graduated from Guilford High School. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Bates College, a master of science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1950. He loved the law and excelled in multiple roles: He was president of the Harvard Law Review and clerked for Justice Learned Hand and Justice Felix Frankfurter before beginning his illustrious career with the law firm that became Pierce Atwood in Portland. In 1977, Gov. James Longley appointed him to the position of Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In 1991, Judge McKusick became “of counsel” to Pierce Atwood, where he enjoyed an extended career until age 90 as Special Master on U.S. Supreme Court cases, as counsel on legal matters to members of the firm and as an arbitrator. He also excelled outside of the law. As one of his former law clerks said, “There are many people who have the credentials the chief had, but who do not have his humanity.” In 1993, when his portrait was hung in the Maine Supreme Court courtroom, another of his former law clerks said, “The Chief personifies the pursuit of law and justice as a vibrant, living pursuit, not a dry, dusty, stultifying science. His sense of humor, warmth, curiosity and enthusiasm helped forge a strong bond with those of us fortunate enough to be employed as his clerks, as well as with all who interacted with him outside of the courtroom.” He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Nancy Elizabeth Green McKusick; daughters Barbara McKusick Liscord, Kay McKusick Ralston and Anne Elizabeth McKusick; son Jim McKusick; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his identical twin brother, Dr. Victor A. McKusick, brothers Harry and Robert McKusick, and sister, Grace McKusick Storms.

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