Hattie Bickmore, first woman to head Maine GOP, dies at 78

Posted March 19, 2012, at 11:16 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A memorial service is planned for Ellen “Hattie” Bickmore, the first woman to chair the Maine Republican Party.

Bickmore died of lung cancer Friday at a Scarborough hospice. She was 78.

Born in poverty in Westbrook, Bickmore served in the Marine Corps. She was widowed with five children when her husband, Harold Bickmore, drowned in a boating accident in 1967.

She became active in GOP politics and was a delegate to several national conventions. Between 1978 and 1982, Bickmore served as the first woman chair of the Maine Republican State Committee.

In recent years, Bickmore was known as the “mayor of L.L. Bean” for the fun-loving way she greeted visitors arriving at Bean’s flagship store in Freeport.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland.

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