August 30, 2013

Honoring the life of Harold Nichols Burnham, Jr. MD ("Hal")

Harold died on July 31st at home in Raymond, Maine on Sebago Lake with his family at his side. Son of Harold Nichols Burnham, Sr. and Margaret Beryl Skinner Burnham, Harold was born in Portland on March 21, 1927, and attended Deering High School (1944) and Bowdoin College (1948). After graduating from Bowdoin, he taught at Scattergood Friends School in Iowa, and led by his commitment to Quaker faith and practice, chose to serve nine months in prison as a conscientious objector in 1949. In 1959, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 

Harold married Phyllis Dorn in 1958 at the Oak Street Friends Meeting in Portland. As a young doctor, Harold made house calls, delivered babies and offered hypnotherapy amongst other alternative and preventive medicine services. After retiring from private practice in 1986, Harold worked for the Mercy Hospital Chemical Dependency Program. Harold and his family spent summers in Raymond at Wind-in-Pines, the Burnham family business, moving there permanently in 1987. 

Harold had many passions, some of which he pursued until recently. He was a devout Quaker, a ski instructor at Pleasant Mountain (aka “Doc”), a catch-and-release fisherman, an organic farmer, and loved to play tennis, swim, jog, bike, walk the family forestlands, waterski, sail and row on Sebago Lake. Harold rarely missed a moment to talk with people on topics that mattered deeply to them, and to share his stories and listen to the stories of others regardless of the passage of time or the setting sun. 

He is survived by his wife Phyllis, son Jonathan, daughter Margo, two grandsons James and Phineas, brother William, two nephews and a niece. A memorial service was held on August 16th.

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