PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The executive who led L.L. Bean into the modern era, the co-founder of Burt’s Bees and the actor who played the villain in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” are among notable Mainers who died in 2015.
Leon Gorman, a grandson of L.L. Bean, transformed the catalog company with a single retail store and 100 employees into a multichannel retailer with more than 5,000 employees and sales topping $1.5 billion. The Yarmouth resident was also a key figure in the state’s conservation movement. He died Sept. 3 at age 80.
Burt Shavitz teamed up with Roxanne Quimby to create the natural cosmetics company, and his face and wild beard appeared on many of the products. The reclusive beekeeper died July 5. He, too, was 80.
Taking a different path to fame was Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface in the original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in 1974. He was born in Iceland and lived in Texas before settling in Northeast Harbor in Maine. He died Nov. 7 at age 68.
Other notable deaths in 2015 in Maine:
- Everett “Vic” Firth, longtime Boston Symphony timpanist and drumstick maker, died July 26 at age 85. Firth joined the Boston Symphony in 1952 and served for five decades as timpanist. He later started a drumstick company, manufacturing his Vic Firth sticks in Maine.
- Beverly Daggett, of Augusta, was the first woman to serve as Maine Senate president. Daggett, who died Sept. 6 at age 69, was first elected to the Senate in 1996 after serving five terms representing Augusta in the House. She was the Senate Democratic leader during the 120th Maine Legislature, working closely with both parties to set a power-sharing agreement that resulted from the Senate’s first-ever partisan tie.
- Patrick Edward McCarthy, who led the UMaine system from 1975 to 1986, died Oct. 13 at age 85 in his home on Christmas Cove in Bristol. He served as chancellor of higher education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for several years in the 1970s before becoming chancellor of the University of Maine System.
- Rita DeRosby, the mother of first lady Ann LePage, died after a long battle with a disease of the skin and connective tissues. The Oakland resident, who had scleroderma for two decades, spent much of her last years with her daughter and son-in-law in the Blaine House. She died Oct. 18 at age 77.
- Brent Cross, son of the founder of Cross Insurance, died at age 58 on Thanksgiving after battling cancer. The Bangor native joined the father’s business in 1979 and served as executive vice president. The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and Cross Civic Center in Portland bear the company’s name.
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