The Portland man was an advocate for low-income Mainers.

PORTLAND (AP) – A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday for Robert Philbrook of Portland, who for decades was a fixture in the State House advocating for Maine’s poor. Philbrook, who was 72, died Tuesday.

Philbrook founded the group We Who Care, which called for temporary housing and support for low-income people. He ran unsuccessfully for Portland City Council in 1974 and the Maine House in 1990.

For years, Philbrook was a recognizable figure in Maine’s Capitol when lawmakers deliberated programs he championed.

“Just his presence in the room would assure that the issues of the poor and underserved would rise to the top of the discussion,” said Dora Mills, director of the Bureau of Health in the Department of Human Services.

Philbrook contracted polio as a young child and spent part of his early life at the Shrine Hospital in Springfield, Mass. He graduated from Ellsworth High School, later attended a watch-making school and owned a business, Wee Little Tic Toc Shop.

He took up advocacy causes because of what he saw as unfulfilled needs of low-income people, the elderly and the physically and mentally handicapped.

Philbrook served as an adviser and board member for many groups, including the Maine Association for Interdependent Neighborhoods, Maine Equal Justice Project, Peoples Regional Opportunity Program and the Polio Support Group.

He was a field service coordinator for the University of Maine, working to bring services to the disadvantaged.

He had six sons.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland.

AP-ES-10-03-03 0215EDT


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