BRUNSWICK – Robert Hampden Patten passed away on February 21, 2015, after a brief illness with loving family by his side. It was the eve of his 62nd wedding anniversary and the week of his 92nd birthday. He was the son of Helen Elizabeth and Dr. Clarence Anderson Patten.
Although his family spanned centuries in Hampden, he was born in Philadelphia where his renowned physician father practiced. He and his sibs rollerskated the city on Sundays, and spend many hours at the public library and art museum. During summers they escaped the heat and polio outbreaks by returning by train to the Maine family homestead. After the sudden and tragic death of his father, the family returned to Hampden permanently, where he attended Hampden Academy.
His college years at University of Maine were interrupted by WWII. He joined the Navy, went to midshipman school at Bates and Columbia, and was assigned to Key West, where the officers lived with prominent families. By the completion of his Navy years, Lt Patten was commander of a subchaser, with memories of riding out hurricanes and spending R&R in Havana. He completed his University of Maine degree in speech in 1947 and went to University of Denver to complete a masters degree in speech and radio. He returned to the Bangor area for continued radio work as announcer, and joined WABI as the state’s first TV anchorman. Those years were filled with colorful events and interviews with national figures. In 1953 he married the love of his life, Stella Borkowski, in what he described as Bangor’s ‘wedding of the year’. He was involved in a multitude of city and charitable organizations, served as Bangor’s first industrial development director, and as a fundraiser for the University of Maine’s Hauck fund. After years as a sales representative for Sewall Mapping Company of Old Town, he joined a national tax appraisal firm, Cole Layer Trumble Company, as a vice president. One summer the company loaned him to the state of California where he reviewed the state tax structure as one of “Reagan’s raiders”. After many years he founded his own company, Patten Appraisal Company. His family had relocated in 1961 to Cape Elizabeth where he lived until moving to Topsham in 2005. His life was devoted to giving back to the community, and there are more involvements than can be listed. Most prominent are those involving the University of Maine and the Rotary Club. His fundraising work and extensive alumni leadership with the university earned him many awards, and he and Stella received the university’s highest award, the first time ever awarded to a couple. His many decades with Rotary Club included time as District Governor for the Northeast US/Maritime provinces, during which he travelled worldwide. His proudest projects included coordinating supply missions to needy countries, and the collaboration with Maine Island Trail Association to develop Jewell Island.
He loved Maine, the sea, good history books, and most of all, fiercely loved his family. His charm, integrity, tall good looks, and fine articulation and manners impressed all who met him.
He is survived by family who dearly miss him, his widow, Stella Borkowski Patten of Topsham; daughter, Dr. Deborah Patten of Bath; daughter, Lisa Patten of Alameda, California; grandson, Nicholas Patten Mesrobian of Rochester NY; and grandson, Benjamin Patten Mesrobian of Bath. He was predeceased by sister, Jeanne Patten Whitten of Bangor/Topsham; and twin brother, Morton (“Budge” or “Pat”) Patten of Newcastle.
A memorial service will be held later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be sent either to: Maine Island Trail Association, 58 Fore Street, Bldg 30, Suite 3, Portland ME 04101 or the Senior Alumni Scholarship at University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792. To share memories and condolences with the family, please go to