Brewer public servant Gerry Robertson dies

Posted Dec. 29, 2008, at 9:25 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Gerald “Gerry” Robertson, who dedicated much of his long life to serving the community and the region, including 46 years on the City Council, died on Monday at his home.

Robertson was 90.

“Gerry personified public service at its very best and was active in the affairs of his community to the very end,” City Manager Steve Bost said.

Robertson, born April 18, 1918, in Sullivan, moved to Brewer to attend Beal Business College in Bangor. He was elected a city councilor at age 23 and then spent 46 years serving Brewer, 19 as mayor.

At the time of his death, Robertson was a 12-year veteran member of the Brewer Planning Board and had sat on the Brewer Housing Authority board of directors since 1997.

Robertson also was one of the founding members of the Brewer Economic Development Corp., which started in 1968, and remained a member until his death.

City and development corporation leaders decided earlier this month united to create a $2,000 scholarship in Robertson’s name to applaud his six-plus decades of public service. Each will supply $1,000 annually for the Brewer High School scholarship, which will be awarded to a graduate who has followed in Robertson’s foot-steps by showing an interest in public service or government.

“The scholarship in his name will be one way his accomplishments will be remembered,” Bost said. “He was an institution, and we were very fortunate.”

Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow, who served as city clerk during many of the years Robertson was on the council, said his passing is a loss for the community.

“I always remember Gerry as being involved, and being there — go, go, go,” he said. “It’s too bad.”

City Councilor Larry Doughty sat on the panel with Robertson between 1985 and 1997 and commented that “time goes fast, awful fast.”

“Gerry was a real good guy,” he said. “I enjoyed serving with him. He was always very good to me. He just loved the public life.”

Robertson was Brewer’s representative to the 103rd Maine Legislature. He was named the 2005 Citizen of the Year, has a street, Robertson Boulevard, named after him, and the city has proclaimed “Gerald Robertson Day” on two occasions over the years.

Robertson also witnessed the shooting of wanted gangsters Al Brady and Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr. on Oct. 12, 1937, according to his son, Gary Robertson of Bangor.

Robertson was a former president of Eastern Agency on Aging, executive committee member of Maine AARP and TRIAD.

He helped to organize the Eastern Fine Paper Credit Union, which is known as Brewer Federal Credit Union, and account No. 2 still bears his name.

He went to Germany to help bring ZF Lemforder to the city and sat on various committees under former Govs. Joseph Brennan and Angus King.

Robertson was predeceased by his wife of many years, Marion, and has two children living in the Bangor area, Gary Robertson and Cynthia Shirek.

When Robertson was named Citizen of the Year in 2005, he said: “I did not do it for the prestige, and I did not do it for the recognition, but rather as an obligation to make our community the greatest in the state of Maine. Brewer is my home, even though I didn’t move here until I was 19.”

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