DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine -&nbspA longtime Maine legislator from Nobleboro who was the Republican nominee for governor 30 years ago has died at a hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.

The Senate Republican caucus said Linwood Palmer Jr., who was in his mid-80s, died Thursday.

Palmer was first elected to the Maine House in 1947 at age 24 and went on to the Senate in 1950. He returned to the House in the 1970s and served two terms as minority leader.

Palmer won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 1978 but lost to Democrat Joseph Brennan in a three-way general election.

U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and former Gov. John R. McKernan on Saturday released the following statement: “We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Lin who was not only an extraordinary public servant but was also our dear friend. Lin cared deeply for the people of Maine and he served them with unparalleled distinction in the state Legislature during a career that spanned four decades. We both had the pleasure of working side-by-side with him in the 1970s, and Jock had the additional privilege of serving as the assistant minority leader from 1975 to 1977 when Lin was the minority leader in the state House of Representatives. We feel extremely fortunate to have served with this passionate and committed person of such integrity. He truly was an exceptional man with a tremendous sense of humor, and he will be missed by all of us who knew him well. We extend our deepest condolences to his son Linwood and Norma, his daughters Cartha and her husband Doug Smith, and Beth and her husband Dennis Smith, and his entire family for their tremendous loss.”

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 31,&nbsp2008&nbspat the First Baptist Church of Nobleboro.