John Edward Menario
September 18, 1935 – January 31, 2019
Portland: John E. Menario, 83, went suddenly to be with the Lord after a lifetime of good health.
He was born on September 18, 1935 in Portland to Mike and Glady (Thomas) Menario. His early years were spent in an apartment on Oxford street, before moving with his parents and sister, Anita, to Falmouth. The family home was located at the corner of Route 1 and Depot Road – now Levitt and Sons Deli – where the ‘Menario Sandwich’ is still prominently featured. While in high school, he sparked a friendship with John Skillins, eventually working at Skillin’s Greenhouse and developing a lifelong passion for landscaping and horticulture.
After graduation from Falmouth High School and Portland Junior College, he met the love of his life, Antoinette Napolitano. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he was trained as a Morse code operator and served during the Korean Conflict. His family enjoyed teasing that he both entered – and exited – the Army with the lofty rank of Private First Class.
After being honorably discharged, he returned to Portland, married Antoinette, and enrolled in the University of Maine (Orono) with funding from The GI Bill. While at Orono, sons Scott and Jay were born. In describing those early years of their marriage, John would say “we didn’t have two nickels to rub together.” He and Antoinette would scrounge through the couch to find loose change for the Friday evening pizza order, and he was accomplished at placing a frozen washcloth over the locked thermostat to get the heat to go on. He was greatly appreciative of the Baldacci family for hiring him as a bartender, and they remained dear friends throughout his life.
Much to the chagrin of Antoinette, John was offered, and accepted, a fellowship to attend graduate school at The Fels Institute of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Approaching graduation, with baby Anne Marie on the way, and with limited city government positions available nationwide, John was preparing to move the family to California. However, by the Grace of God, the Portland City Manager, Graham Watt, called Wharton – his alma mata – seeking a City Hall Intern. And with that stroke of good fortune, John returned home to Portland and began his career at City Hall.
He was a city employee for 14 years, proudly serving as City Manager from 1967 through 1976.
John was a man who always gave credit to others and didn’t speak of his own accomplishments, so we won’t here either. Instead, we’ll share of his deep pride in Portland and the great State of Maine, his delight in his children and grandchildren, and his unbounding generosity to family, friends, and strangers.
Of his many endeavors, John was most proud of his work with Bill Troubh and Charlie Eshbach founding the Strike Out Cancer in Kids Charity for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. He was adamant that every penny raised support the financial and emotional needs of families devastated by this diagnosis. Thanks to Banknorth and its President Bill Ryan, there was an annual banquet, where John would, without fail, cry while speaking of children, families, and fundraisers working tirelessly to battle Childhood Cancers.
In a testament to his character, John had many close friendships that spanned decades.
He enjoyed golfing at Riverside with the original City Hall crew; Fred Lucci (Tax Assessor), John DePalmer (Finance Director), and Lou Hannigan (Personnel.) He took special pride that the present Clubhouse was constructed under their city leadership.
He also loved reminiscing about the old days and talking present day issues with his longtime friends, and former personal advisors, Harvey Devane and the Honorable Governor Joseph Brennan.
He dearly missed his friends who he has recently joined in Heaven; Bob Noonan, David Pomroy, Walker Noyes, Tony DiMillo, Freeman Dulac and George DiMatteo. His best friend was William B. Troubh, and they are no doubt sharing a Johnny Walker Black together, with Counselor Edward I. Bernstien close by and providing the cigars.
He was a doting husband to his bride and “love until the end of time” Antoinette, and a devoted father to his three children; Scott (Laura) Menario, Jay (Diane) Menario, and Anne Marie (Neil) Haskell. He was the loving Grampy to his six grandchildren: Anthony and Joseph Menario, Andrea (Chris) Liptrot, Stephanie (Nicholas) Anania, Gina (Steve) Shuleski, and Emily (fiancé Dan) Menario. He provided unconditional support and encouragement, enthusiastically attending Hockey Games, Ballet Recitals, and Violin Concerts. He took great interest in their careers and adult lives, always serving as a mentor and sounding board.
He was over-the-moon with the 2018 arrivals of the newest family members; great-granddaughter Josephine and great-grandson and namesake John Edward.
He and Antoinette were first-generation Italian-Americans, and together they fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking the entire family on a month-long trip to Italy in 2007. They also spoiled the family with several magical trips, including to Disney World and New York City.
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
John made everyone feel important and loved, and we know he won’t soon be forgotten.
The family asks you join them during a time of visitation on Tuesday February 5th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Jones, Rich& Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St, Portland, ME. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Peters Catholic Church, Federal St, Portland on Wednesday February 6th at 10:00am followed by committal services at Calvary Cemetery Broadway St, South Portland.
Donations may be made in John’s memory to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, 100 Campus Dr #107, Scarborough, ME 04074
You may offer your condolences and share your memories at www.jonesrichandbarnes.com
- Mike Menario, Father
- Glady Menario, Mother
- Antoinette Menario, Wife
- Scott Menario, Son
- Laura Menario, Daughter-in-law
- Jay Menario, Son
- Diane Menario, Daughter-in-law
- Anne Marie Haskell, Daughter
- Neil Haskell, Son-in-law
- Anthony Menario, Grandson
- Joseph Menario, Grandson
- Andrea Liptrot, Granddaughter
- Chris Liptrot, Andrea's husband
- Staphanie Anania, Granddaughter
- Nicholas Anania, Stephanie's husband
- Gina Shuleski, Granddaughter
- Steve Shuleski, Gina's Husband
- Emily Menario, Granddaughter
- Dan ., Emily's Fiance
- Josephine ., Great Granddaughter
- John Edward ., Great Grandson
- Maine Childrens Cancer Program
- Time of Visitation Tuesday, February 5, 2019
- A Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday, February 6, 2019
John Edward Menario
February 16, 2019
So sad to learn of John's sudden passing. It was a total honor to have worked closely with John for over 10 years, first through the Greater Portland Council of Governments and then as his assistant in his consulting firm Governmental Services Inc.. Following on his fortune to have Graham Watt call him to City Hall, John reached out to me as I finished grad school in public administration to ask me to help him in starting Governmental Services, Inc. What an honor to work with and learn from the master of governmental and private affairs. We worked hard for many Maine towns and cities and private business, but more importantly, we all had fun doing it, traveling many miles together across this wonderful state. There could be no better teacher of how people and their governments worked together. John had a fine understanding of people and how they worked and thought and felt, and fortunately John shared that me and all others who worked and lived with him. We are all better off and better people for having worked with John. Thank you, John, and may you rest in peace and watch over us.
Sorry to have missed his service, but I was out of the country when I learned of this loss. My best wishes to Toni, Jay, Scott and Ann Marie and all the family.
February 8, 2019
When I reflect back over the years and think of all the people I have known and worked with no one stands taller than John Menario. He was truly a gift to the community and to all those whom he touched. Proud but without any trace of ego, John was the very model of professionalism, competence and humanity. He was a master teacher and for those of us who had the high privilege of working for him the lessons learned have lasted a lifetime and, as with any great teacher those lessons have been passed along to so many others. While his brilliance and iron trap memory were without equal so too was his quick wit and the twinkle in his eye when he told a good story. He lived life to the fullest and always with a special love and compassion for others. Like his initials, JEM, John E. Menario was very much a real Gem and I am forever grateful that I could be his friend.
My deepest condolences and love for John, Tony and their family.
February 5, 2019
Greetings Toni and family,
I was saddened to read of John's passing and wanted to extend my sincerest condolences.
Campbell's Scottish Highlands
February 4, 2019
Dear Scott, Laura and Family,
We are so very sorry for your loss of John. Although we never had the pleasure of meeting him, we can see that John enjoyed a life well lived and well loved. We hope that happy memories will bring you comfort at this time.
The Staff and Campbell Family at Scottish Highlands
February 4, 2019
Dear Tony and Family,
I was surprised and saddened to hear of John's passing. He was an important person in my life and I especially want to express my condolences to his family. John's abilities and commitment to the successful building of Peoples Heritage Bank and its holding company were outstanding. I've never had better support from any executive than I had from John. An important part of his contributions was that he wasn't a banker and therefore brought a different and important point of view to issues.
My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you rebuild your lives without his immediate presence.
former CEO of Peoples Heritage
February 3, 2019
I don't know where to begin to express my sadness in learning of John's passing. While in college and law school In the late-60's I interned for him at Portland City Hall. He was my mentor and I pursued a career in public service because of him. He gave me real work to do including negotiating a garbage collection contract for the city, heading a program to remove over 1000 junk cars from the city and providing advice on a consultant study of the Police Department. He spent time outside the office with his assistants and interns including a memorable night over a "few drinks" where he regaled us with inside stories. The City of Portland is what it is today because of John's vision and leadership and he always gave the credit to people like Harold Loring, Billy Trouhb, Charlie Allen, Ralph Amergian, Eddie Bernstein and others who had the good sense to support him and his revitalization efforts. Thank you, John, for being my friend and mentor and for all you've done for your beloved city.
February 3, 2019
I covered John in his Portland City Manager days as City Hall Reporter for the Press Herald in the early 1970s. He never ducked a question or equivocated. If he said he wanted to check out a situation before commenting, he always called back in a timely manner. He led the City during a time of great challenges which he always referred to as opportunities. Much of what is good in Portland links backs to his days at the city's helm. I later worked with John at Peoples Heritage during its transition to Maine's largest bank, later Banknorth. He was a valued colleague and an estimable friend. This hard winter is even colder knowing he and his quick smile and warm greeting are gone. His family can be comforted by knowing they were always first in his thoughts. I shall miss him always.
February 2, 2019
I have so many wonderful memories with my Grampy, from spending Christmas day together, to spending several family vacations together in Walt Disney World; however, the one thing that sticks out most to me are his words. Each time I would see him, he would hug me and say "Wow, you get more beautiful each time I see you!" He always made sure everyone around him felt important and loved. I love you Grampy!
February 2, 2019
I went to work for John at his consulting firm, Governmental Services, Inc. in 1982. It was the start of a career in governmental relations that continues to this day. I will always be grateful to John for giving me this start. He was a thoughtful, optimistic man who was always looking to make things better around him and his community, including the state of Maine. R.I.P., John.
February 2, 2019
Jay, Diane and family,
So sorry for your loss. We are thinking of you with love and sympathy.
Janet and Jim