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Maine Philanthropist Al Glickman Dies
04/29/2013   Reported By: Jay Field

One of Maine's top civic leaders and philanthropists has passed away. Albert Glickman - Al to his family and many friends - died of Parkinson's disease at age 79. Glickman was an MPBN trustee and served on the boards of key arts, education, medical and business institutions---in his home states of California and Maine. A Portland native, Glickman came from modest means, built a lucrative commercial real estate business, then turned his focus to philanthropy, giving millions of dollars to the arts, education and health care causes close to his heart. Jay Field has this rememberance.

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Maine Philanthropist Al Glickman Dies
Originally Aired: 4/29/2013 12:00 PM


Lenny Nelson says he knew of Al Glickman (right, in February 2012), only vaugely, when the two men were boys, growing up in Portland in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It wasn't until years later that he actually came to know the man who would become his longtime close friend and legal client.

Nelson, a founding partner of the law firm Bernstein Shur, was serving as head of the Portland Museum. Glickman had returned to Maine - more or less full-time - after years living in Beverly Hills, California.

"Someone calls me and says, 'This man, Glickman, he wants to get involved with the museum.' I have lots of friends in Beverly Hills. I call one of my friends and I say, 'Tell me about this guy Glickman.' Without even doing any research, he says, 'Look,' he said, 'I don't know Al very well, but I'll say one thing: Whatever he says he will do, he will do.'"

By this time, says Nelson, Al Glickman had made millions of dollars in business and was turning his energies to philanthropy.

"Although he enjoyed making wealth, he enjoyed giving it away even more," Nelson says. "He just felt that, if you were a decent person, it was your obligation to make the community better."

It was an ethos that began to take shape in the tough, early years of Glickman's life. Joe Boulas, a friend and business associate of Glickman's, is chairman of The Boulas Company, a commerial real estate firm. "Al was born in Portland with, basically, nothing," he says.

At age three, Glickman's father died in a car accident, leaving his mother, a homemaker, widowed. His mother eventually remarried and the family moved to California. Glickman completed high school and went on to get undergraduate and law degrees from UCLA. He met and married his wife Judy. The couple had four kids and Glickman's real estate career took off.

"He was an incredible businessman. Smart as hell," Boulas says. "But such a gentle soul."

Joe Boulas says Glickman became the largest developer of K-Mart shopping centers in the country. "He loved to tell you of all of his business successes and who he knew. But in the end, he had as close friends on Peaks Island as he did in Hollywood."

Glickman and his family began vactioning in Maine every summer, before finally buying a house on Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay. Back in the state, more or less full-time, Lenny Nelson says Glickman and his wife poured themselves into philanthropy in the Greater Portland area.

"Al and Judy have just been enormously philanthropic," Nelson says. "I mean you start looking at the organizations in Portland: the naming donor of the library, if you've been at USM, the Glickman Family Library; he's a trustee of the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony Orchestra."

He seved as a trustee of MPBN and of the University of Maine System. And he gave millions of dollars to these and other organizations. Mental health was an area of special importance to Glickman and his wife.

The couple gave a $1 million in 2007 to establish the Glickman Family Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook. Dr. Girard Robinson is the Chief of Psychiatry at Maine Medical Center.

"More children are benefiting from the most up-to-date, evidence-based models of care because of Al Glickman's contributions and his real passion for this."

Glickman joined one more board, becoming a director of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, after being diagnosed with the disease in his mid-60s. Another friend, Joe Wishcamper, watched Glickman struggle with the illness, without complaint.

"Al is one of the most courageous people I've ever met. The man is an amazing example to people of how to live with a debilitating disease," Wishcamper says.

Al Glickman is survived by his wife Judy, his four kids and many grandchildren.


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