Obituary

Leonard Owen Lookner, obituary

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 4:00pm
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Leonard O. Lookner

CAMDEN — Leonard Owen Lookner, 76, passed away peacefully and unexpectedly in his sleep at his Camden home on Feb. 5, 2017. Leonard was a vibrant, irreverent and colorful man, and his passing leaves a tremendous void in the hearts of his family, friends and the entire community.

Leonard was born April 17, 1940, in Newton, Mass. He would go on to graduate from Newton North High School in 1958, and earn his Bachelor of Science in Political Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

It was during his time in Colorado that he met many of the friends that he remained close with throughout his life, including his business partner of more than 50 years, Sam Appleton. During his life, Leonard often regaled his days in Colorado, where he routinely encountered the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, one of his inspirations. Following college, Leonard returned to his hometown of Boston, where he worked at Andrew's Motorcycle Sales and Service, a British motorcycle repair shop. Many colorful characters entered his life during this time, including a litany of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts and eclectics of all sorts hailing from all over the country.

Leonard and Sam began their successful career in the restaurant business while living in Colorado. Leonard moved to Maine in 1969 with his then wife, Jill, and Sam would soon follow with his wife, Annie.

Leonard purchased a dairy farm in Montville, and quickly set to work, acquiring the job of milk inspector for several Waldo County towns. Taking cues from the farmers he most respected, Leonard would become a farmer himself, amassing a herd of about 30 head of dairy cows. He and Jill (Corkum) have one son, Augustus (Gus) Lookner, together. Leonard also served as a selectman in Montville, and on additional municipal committees during his years as a Montville resident.

Returning to the restaurant business, Leonard and Sam opened their first Maine restaurant in Belfast, City Boat Landing, in 1976. Just two years later, the pair would apply their vision to a dilapidated former boat house, which they renovated and opened as The Waterfront in 1978.

Leonard sold his half of the business to Sam in 2012, and The Waterfront remains a Camden institution and a place where many, many youth have cut their teeth in the workforce.

In 1983, Leonard married Brita Light, and the two had three children together. Their marriage ended in 1999, however the two remained loving and dedicated co-parents to their children.

Leonard was a passionate advocate of environmental causes, dedicating time and resources to independent and organized efforts, from picking up litter along the roadside to tirelessly volunteering to assist in preserving farmland in the Midcoast Maine region. He served on a variety of community boards and committees over more than 20 years, most recently as the vice-chairman of the Camden Select Board, in the midst of his second consecutive term.

Additionally, he served a three-year term on the Select Board beginning in 1997, and was voted in again in 2012 and 2015. He also served for many years on the Camden Zoning Board of Appeals.

Most recently he was passionate about getting a farmers market set up at the old tannery property on outer Washington Street, working on recycling and trash services at Mid-Coast Solid Waste, and getting the Camden Snow Bowl on solid footing. Leonard's advocacy extended to championing the rights of others, and he was deeply committed to doing everything in his power to foster a fair and democratic society. He volunteered numerous times for Democratic political campaigns, causes, and candidates, knocking doors well into the evening with the same passion and determination he applied to all of his endeavors. He was outspoken and his opinion was not always popular; he knew this and at times relished the opportunity for a spirited discourse on politics or a municipal issue. At the end of the day, these often heated exchanges would result in a good spirited handshake, sometimes a compromise, but ultimately almost always a friendship.

Leonard was passionate about involving younger generations in community politics, and was deeply encouraging toward those who expressed an interest. He loved Camden, and always had the best interest of the community foremost in his thoughts and actions.

Leonard was passionate about his impressive vegetable garden and small home orchard, which he and his partner of two-decades, a fellow University of Colorado graduate, Lucy Hallowell, lovingly shared.

The pair lived together at Lookner's Camden farm, and their shared adoration for one another was tangible to those they encountered. In addition to working in their large gardens and greenhouse, the two enjoyed sailing expeditions aboard their Cape Dory 36, Mariposa. Leonard was a voracious reader who often ordered multiple copies of used books to distribute to his children. In fact, he had ordered the Joy of Cooking for each of them the Friday prior to his death, grumbling with amusement to Lucy that somehow none of his kids seemed to be able to remember how to roast a chicken without calling for advice.

Leonard was a Triumph Motorcycle enthusiast, a dedicated fan of all Boston Sports teams. He was an enthusiastic volunteer, coaching dozens of youth sports teams and even volunteering with the Camden Hills Regional High School's Windjammer baseball team long after his children had graduated. He was well-known for his generosity toward those less fortunate. While his life feels far too short, those who knew Leonard well might consider his shocking departure from this earth a characteristic, albeit tragic, surprise. He had few regrets, pursued his convictions doggedly, and asked the questions many would shy away from. It is his courage, dedication, and lion heartedness that must be remembered and honored daily as his legacy. His personality was greater than this earthly plain can contain, and it is without question that his omnipotence will live on in his children and the legions of others he inspired (and frustrated) over the years.

Leonard was predeceased by his parents, Morris and Jenny; and is survived by immediate family, including his partner, Lucy; his sister, Sherrie Lookner of Boston; and his four beloved children, Gus, 44, of Owls Head, Jenna, 34, of Camden, Gray, 32, of Portland, and Carlo, 30 of Boston. He loved Lucy's four children as his own, and embraced her five grandchildren with profound adoration. Additionally, Leonard leaves behind countless friends and relatives near and far.

A casual public gathering to commemorate and celebrate his life is planned for Sunday, Feb. 12, from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Waterfront Restaurant. A second gathering will be announced in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Leonard's name to the Maine Farmland Trust and Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Additionally, you can honor Leonard's legacy by taking a few hours to pick up litter along the roadside, which he did vigilantly on his frequent walks.

Arrangements are being handled by Long Funeral Home.