Arthur “Archie” Verow, who represented most of Brewer in the Maine House, died unexpectedly Thursday morning of a heart attack, according to his daughter, Suzette Furrow.
Verow, a Democrat, was first elected to the Maine House in 2012 and was serving his third term when he died. He won re-election in 2014 before losing his seat in 2016. He reclaimed it in last year’s election.
Before serving in the State House, Verow, 77, also had a long history of serving at the municipal level in Brewer. He served two terms as the city’s mayor. He also served on the City Council, and he worked at Brewer City Hall as city clerk for 40 years before he retired in 2007.
Verow leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Fran, as well as a son, daughter and three granddaughters, Furrow said. He also had a daughter who predeceased him.
Furrow called her father a kind, compassionate, well loved man who “never said a bad word about anyone.”
Verow had a number of slogans he often used that applied to various circumstances in life, Furrow said. One was, “Life, be in it.” Another was, “Anything that’s easy isn’t worth it.”
“He was always involved in the community. You’d see him everywhere,” his daughter said. “If people described him as kind, that would make him happy.”
On Wednesday, Verow attended a breakfast hosted by the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce where Gov. Janet Mills spoke. In her remarks, Mills even mentioned Verow by name while answering a question about the upcoming legislative session.
“I’ve got 39 bills that I held over on my desk that we’re working on,” Mills said. “Representative Verow? Archie Verow? There he is. I’m working on that, too,” she said, without specifying what they had been discussing.
Mills offered her condolences in a statement about Verow on Thursday that noted that he “was eager to discuss the upcoming legislative session” at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
She praised the legislator for “his commitment to community and his tireless defense of Maine seniors.”
Former Gov. John Baldacci was serving on the Bangor City Council when he met Verow, who was then serving as the Brewer city clerk.
“He was very humble,” Baldacci said. “He wasn’t one to take credit. He wanted to help the council and help get things done.”
He also praised Verow’s work as a state representative, saying that he was more interested in problem-solving than in partisan politics.
“There’s glue that holds communities together,” he said. “We lost a little bit of that today with Archie’s passing.”
Gideon said Verow had “dedicated his professional life to public service.
“His roots in Brewer go back four generations and his passing is a tremendous loss to the city of Brewer, the state of Maine, and all of us who knew and loved Archie,” she said in a statement.
Verow served on the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee.
One initiative he spearheaded in his time in the Legislature was a bill to rename a rest area on Interstate 95 North in Hampden for Joshua Chamberlain, the Brewer native and Civil War hero. The renaming happened in 2016.
Another was a successful bill he sponsored to provide state income tax credits to offset the cost of modifying homes — such as by installing ramps or widening doorways — to make them more accessible to people with disabilities and so seniors could continue living at home. The bill passed in 2016, and Verow was recognized for it the next year in Washington, D.C., at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s public policy conference.
BDN writer Charles Eichacker contributed to this report.