AUBURN — Robert Peter Whitmore, former Auburn mayor, city councilor and Citizen of the Year, died Tuesday at the age of 77.

Friends and former colleagues of Whitmore remembered him Wednesday as a man who did so much for the city of Auburn, it was hard to recount it all.

“He was really an outstanding public servant,” said banker and former City Councilor Robert Stone. “He did a lot for his community.”

“He was very proud and protective of Auburn,” said attorney Jim Howaniec, who worked with Whitmore in opposition to a proposed Lewiston-Auburn merger last year.

Owner of the Whitmore Insurance Agency, Whitmore was an Auburn city councilor from 1973 to 1978, at which point he was elected mayor.

After finishing his mayoral term in 1983, Whitmore went on to serve two terms as a Maine senator. He also served the city in other ways, including time spent on the board of the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce and a period as president of the Auburn Business Association.


In 1987, the Business Association named Whitmore their Citizen of the Year.

Not that it was all politics, all the time.

“He was very active in politics,” Stone said. “And he was very active socially.”

Whitmore was a member – and ultimately president and chairman of – the United Commercial Travelers, a fraternal benefit society. Through that group, Whitmore and his wife, Connie, were able to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to spread the mission of UCT.

“They had the honor of meeting a great group of people who they became friends with and still celebrate that friendship today,” according to the obituary. “UCT played a great role in his life from the very beginning with social dances, camping trips, fundraisers and all around good times.”

After moving to Florida with his wife in 1997, Whitmore continued to actively monitor news from his hometown.


“His heart was still very much attached to this city,” Stone said.

Whitmore was a graduate of Edward Little High School. Word of his passing was getting around Wednesday among former classmates.

“Peter was a classmate and friend of mine,” Dorothy Crowley Noel of Auburn said.  “We graduated from ELHS in 1958 and have both, along with many other classmates, been involved on the reunion committee for many years. He was well loved and will be dearly missed – especially at our 60th reunion this summer. We were all very proud of the accomplishments of our classmates.”

Last year, Whitmore got involved with the Coalition to Oppose Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation over the proposed Lewiston-Auburn merger. Whitmore also voiced his opposition in public forums and through a letter to the newspaper.

“I was in regular contact with Peter during the anti-merger campaign,” Howaniec said, “he was very upset about the issue. He contributed $500 to the anti-merger campaign, even though he did not live in Lewiston-Auburn anymore. I enjoyed working with him, he was a very sweet man.”

Former Mayor Jonathan LaBonte on Wednesday pointed out the sad irony that Whitmore’s death came so soon after the passing of another local icon – Normand “Blackie” Labbe Sr., who died earlier in the week.

“Between Peter and Blackie, two men that really loved Auburn as a community and served it for so many years,” Labonte said. “Tough.”

Robert Peter Whitmore

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