Saturday, April 19, 2014
WATERVILLE — Robert Alan Marden is a longtime attorney, state senator and tireless advocate for those less fortunate.
HONOR: Robert Marden is being recognized by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce with the Distinguished Community Service Award at a ceremony tonight.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
But if you ask him his thoughts on receiving the most prestigious award at tonight’s Mid-Maine
Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet, Marden is momentarily without words.
“I still have a lingering question: Have I really earned this?” he says. “Have I done enough to receive an award looked upon by so many people as very important?”
At the same time, Marden, 85, is touched and honored by the recognition, for which he could name any number of people more eligible.
“You’re flattered, of course, that they would name you. I visualize somebody who spends a lot of time promoting local efforts — of stores opening — things that relate to developing of businesses in Waterville, on Main Street. I’ve always done a lot of volunteer work, but not particularly related to city affairs.”
Marden will received the chamber’s Distinguished Community Service Award during its 48th annual award dinner at the Waterville Elks Banquet and Conference Center, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Others praise Marden as the ultimate example of someone who has devoted his life to helping others in the community and beyond.
“Truly, Bob’s life has been all about service, from the time that he dropped out of high school to join the Navy through today, where he is still an active Rotarian,” says Kimberly Lindlof, president and chief executive officer of the chamber. “Bob’s photo of when he was Senate president hangs proudly in the hall outside of the current Senate president’s office, reminding us all of the value of community service.”
City Manager Michael Roy credits Marden with being the first to encourage him to think regionally about municipal services.
“He’s always spoken eloquently and forcefully for the towns in this area to do whatever they could, regionally,” Roy said.
A fellow Rotarian, Roy said he has spent many a meeting sitting at Marden’s table — which is always full because Marden is so popular.
“You’ve got to get there early to sit with Bob,” Roy said. “He has a very sharp sense of humor; he’s very insightful. He always asks how you are and how you’re doing rather than talk about himself. He’s been very humble and very interested in what people are doing. He rarely misses a meeting. He’s certainly been an inspiration for many of us in the club.”
Marden was born in Waterville in 1927, to Harold Marden, a lawyer and later, Superior Court justice and Maine Supreme Court justice; and Dorothy Harlow Marden, a high school music teacher and founder of what now is known as the New England Music Camp in Sidney.
He and his three siblings — Roberta Alden, now of Yarmouth, Hal Marden, of Pennsylvania, and Don Marden, of Belgrade — enjoyed school, sports and music, he said. Robert played the violin and then the trombone and performed in local bands. He also was a reserve member of Coach Wally Donovan’s 1945 New England Championship basketball team.
He graduated from Waterville High School and Colby College; then was an aerial gunner and aviation radio man in the U.S. Navy. He later went to Boston University Law School under the GI bill; and after graduation, in 1949, married his high school sweetheart, Shirley “Scoop” Marshall. They had four children: Sharon, Robert M., Holly and Eric.
He practiced law in his father and Cyril Joly’s firm, served on the City Council alongside close friend, Mayor Richard Dubord, and was assistant and later County Attorney for Kennebec County.
He served four years as a state senator, the last year as senate president, and during that time, merged his law practice with Dubord’s, creating what is known today as Marden, Dubord, Bernier & Stevens.
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