Neil R. RoldeJuly 25, 1931 ~ May 15, 2017 (age 85)
Neil Rolde, historian, author, statesman, philanthropist, and environmentalist, of York, Maine passed away Monday, May 15, 2017, peacefully with his loving family by his side. He was 85 years old. Neil grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and attended school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He earned his BA in English Literature from Yale University and obtained a MS in journalism at Columbia University. He worked briefly as a film scriptwriter before moving to Maine with his wife of fifty-seven years, Carlotta Florsheim, to raise their family.
Neil was a tireless and skilled public servant serving as an assistant to Maine Governor Ken Curtis for six years and a state legislator for 16 years, including one term as House Majority Leader. In 1976 he made a bid for U.S. House of Representatives. In 1990 he ran for United States Senate advocating for a single payer healthcare system for all Americans. Neil was a champion of those who felt as though they had no voice. Those who were close to him knew his phone would ring at any hour and, as was his nature, he was immediately trying to help.
Rolde’s interests were varied and had him chairing or sitting on the boards of many non-profits and commissions including the York County Shelters, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the University of New England Board of Trustees, York Hospital, the National Academy of Sciences, a term as chair of Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation and the Seacoast Shipyard Association Executive Board where twice he successfully lead the charge against the federal BRAC Commission’s attempts to close the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Neil Rolde was a prolific author of 18 books, mostly on Maine history. His book “So You Think You Know Maine” was turned, for a short time, into a television game show. In 2005, Neil received the Constance A. Carlson Award from the Maine Humanities Council for his extraordinary contributions to Maine history and the humanities.
Neil is survived by his wife Carla, and four daughters, Claudia Sanchez of San Clemente, California, Nicolette Rolde of Eliot, Maine, Andrea Rolde of Chico, California and Danielle Annis of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire as well as his 8 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 18th at 4:00pm in the First Parish Church, 180 York St., York, Maine. A Celebration of Neil’s life will be held on June 11th from 3pm to 7pm at the Union Bluff Hotel in York Beach, Maine. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made to the York County Shelter Programs, 147 Shaker Hill Road, Alfred, Maine 04002.