PORTLAND, Maine — A bow tie-wearing attorney who served as special master to the U.S. Supreme Court, the inventor a low-cost microprocessor, a philanthropist who was the wife of artist Andrew Wyeth and former president of Guy Gannett Publishing Co. are among notable people with connections to Maine who died in 2019.
Ralph Lancaster was appointed special master to the Supreme Court four times, the last time overseeing a clash between Florida and Georgia over water rights. Special masters are appointed by the court to deal with conflicts between states. He also served as special counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton’s labor secretary and represented the United States before the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
But in his obituary, which he penned himself, Lancaster mentioned none of those professional achievements and wrote that “material matters pale into insignificance” when compared with the love of family and friends.
He died Jan. 22 at age 88.
Other notable deaths in Maine in 2018:
— Chuck Peddle, who was born in Bangor and grew up in Augusta, led a team that invented the 6502 microprocessor, a chip used in early computers such as the Commodore PET and Apple II. Peddle left Motorola to create the low-cost chip for personal computers and video games. Dana Humphrey, dean of engineering at the University of Maine, said some called the UMaine alumnus “the father of the personal computer.” He died on Dec. 15 in Santa Cruz, California. He was 82.
— Phyllis Mills Wyeth was the wife of the iconic American painter, and the two spent their summers on the Maine coast. Wyeth advocated for the disabled; she had been disabled in a car crash at age 20. As a philanthropist, she contributed to many causes along with her husband. She died at age 78 with her husband at her side at her home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 14.
— John DiMatteo became a consultant for the Bernard Osher Foundation and a trustee on boards, including those of MaineHealth and the University of Maine System, after leaving Guy Gannett Publishing Co., which published daily newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald. The Cumberland resident died May 5 at age 87.
— Verna Bloom was the actress who portrayed the wife of the Dean Wormer in the movie “Animal House.” She also played the lover of Clint Eastwood’s character in “High Plains Drifter” and was Mary in “The Last Temptation of Christ.” She died Jan. 9 at age 80 in Bar Harbor.
— Theodore “Wayne” Mitchell represented the Penobscot Nation in the Maine Legislature for four terms before helping the tribe assert independence by leaving the Statehouse. Mitchell, wearing a traditional headdress, vowed that if the tribal representatives return “it will be on our terms.” He died July 12 at age 67.
— Peter Moore III was a Native American craftsman who worked to preserve Passamaquoddy arts and culture. In 2006, one of Moore’s hand-carved prayer staffs was presented to then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after Maine’s tribes brokered a successful deal for oil. He died at his Indian Township home July 13 at age 65.
— Trombonist Dave Noyes was a member of the Portland-based Rustic Overtones and was known for keeping the independent-minded musicians together for more than two decades. Band member David Gutter called him “the glue that held us together.” Noyes died March 7 at age 45.
Associated Press news researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.