1929 – 2016
NAPLES — Attorney C. Martin Berman of Naples died Monday, Sept. 19, at his home in Naples after a short illness. He was 87.
The death of Attorney Berman marks the end of almost 100 years of service, in Maine, by the Berman family. Attorney Berman’s uncle, Jacob H. Berman, late of Portland, opened the first Berman Law Office in that city in 1909 followed by the opening of the Berman office in Lewiston by Martin Berman’s father, Benjamin L. Berman in 1914. Both firms became Berman & Berman when an uncle joined each elder brother. The firms maintained a prominent place in the legal annals of this state.
Born in Lewiston, June 14, 1929, the son of the late Judge Benjamin L. Berman and Cecile Hebenstreit Berman, he was educated in the schools of Lewiston and Auburn, graduated from Edward Little High School, the University of Maine (Orono) and Boston University School of Law.
Mr. Berman joined the family law firm in Lewiston in 1954 and practiced with his late father and uncle, the late David V. Berman. He was “Of Counsel” at the Laskoff & Associates law firm – Robert A. Laskoff – of Lewiston after spending 52 years as senior counsel at the Berman & Simmons law firm in Lewiston. Attorney Berman served in the 99th and 100th Legislatures (1959-1962).
He was past president of the Androscoggin County Bar Association, Beth Jacob Synagogue and Lewiston-Auburn Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was also past president and director for the Naples Golf and Country Club, Naples. In addition, Mr. Berman was a founder and former director of the Lakes Environmental Association, former director of the Lewiston-Auburn Jewish Community Center, Naples Community Association and Bridgton Hospital, Bridgton. He was also a former corporator of the Central Maine Medical Center and a life-long member of B’Nai Brith Lodge, Rabboni Lodge of Masons and Kora Temple Shrine.
As a member of the Legislative Judiciary Committee, Attorney Berman was instrumental in drafting and sponsoring legislation which lead to the creation of the present District Court system and the abollishment of the antiquated “part time” municipal courts. As president of the Androscoggin County Bar Association, he worked for many years to facilitate the construction and completion of the then-new District Court building, Park Street, Lewiston, which initially housed the court system when it moved from the Lewiston City Hall.
He also co-sponsored legislation to preserve and have the state assume ownership of the Songo Locks in Naples, previously owned by the S.D. Warren Paper Company in Westbrook. He maintained membership in Temple Beth Abraham Synagogue in Auburn.
Attorney Berman particularly enjoyed his life in Naples on Long Lake where he built a home, So-Ber Lodge, in 1957. He was deeply involved in town charitable endeavors, assisted in acquiring the first ambulance for the formation of the Naples Rescue Unit (a used Cadillac purchased at an auction from the City of Portland) and anonymously contributed to various philanthropic projects in the town. He could be seen daily taking his walk across the Naples Causeway.
He reveled in the attention he received when his name was mentioned on the 6 p.m. weather reports by TV weatherman, Joe Cupo, for whom he served as weather observer for Naples and Long Lake. Calls from friends when “Sonny Berman” says it’s snowing in Naples, that he took his last swim of the season, were of particular joy. Mr. Berman also formerly served on the Board of Trustees at the Bridgton Hospital and, with his wife, Patricia, was a member of the Century Campaign, which in 2002 raised funds for the construction of the new Bridgton Hospital.
Both he and his wife were donors of the ambulatory surgery unit for the hospital, named for his wife, a long-time nurse at the Bridgton facility. He also formerly had business interests in two marinas and a real estate development on the former Camp Beaumont (KODA) property and was involved in the construction and establishment of the Songo River Queen I, all in the Naples-Long Lake area.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Momm Berman, whom he married on Jan. 5, 1999; two daughters, Beth Cecile Berman and Susan Eva Berman (McPherson), both of Newton, Mass.; three grandchildren, Emma Caitlin Yi Ying Berman, Sara Rose Zhi Berman and Jacob Ethan McPherson; and four stepchildren, Edward W. Momm Jr., Portsmouth, N.H., Maureen Momm, South Portland, Ellen M. Cunion, Durham and Patrcia A. Plante, North Yarmouth; as well as four step-grandchildren, Ryan T. Plante, Tyler D. Plante, Acadia E. Momm-White and Jackson E. Momm-White. He is also survived by three wonderful sons-in-law, Ian McPherson, Patrick Cunion and Thomas R. Plante and a wonderful daughter-in-law, Lucy Momm-White.
Condolences and donations may be found online at www.albert-burpee.com.