Wendell G. Large, a prominent attorney and founding partner of the Portland law firm Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, died unexpectedly April 7 of heart failure while attending a conference of the USLAW Network in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 65.

News of his passing spread quickly in Maine’s legal community.

He was remembered by a friend on Facebook as a “true gentleman of the bar.” His colleagues say he was dedicated to his practice and fought tirelessly for his clients.

“He was excellent,” said Beth Stouder, a managing director of the law firm. “He was really good at strategy. He was very talented in the courtroom. He saw things and he knew how to persuade people and think about cases in a way that was so helpful to his clients.”

According to the firm’s website, Mr. Large was a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. His practice focused on jury and court trials, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. He tried cases in Maine for more than 25 years. He handled complex cases concerning professional and product liability claims, the defense of commercial transportation claims, and the defense and prosecution of large-exposure personal injury claims.

“He was a fierce defender of whoever he was representing,” said his wife, Soozie Large. “He was incredibly astute and adept in the courtroom. He was moral and thoughtful. His clients loved him. He took good care of the people he was representing.”

His wife noted his charm in the courtroom, saying he had a lovely Southern drawl that he could turn on at will. She said it was one of the many qualities that drew her to him.

On Friday, she reminisced about the day they met on Peaks Island some 32 years ago. She said they were neighbors. He came over for dinner one night and never left. That night, she made jambalaya.

“He was so lovely. He was so charming. He was really warm and honest,” she said. “And cute – that didn’t hurt.”

The couple lived in Portland and were married for 30 years. They raised a daughter and he was her rock, his wife said.

She reflected on their relationship, saying they never fought.

“We literally took really good care of each other,” she said. “We had a great relationship. When he died, the only silver lining was that there was nothing left unsaid. We lived well together.”

Outside the office, Mr. Large and his wife loved socializing with friends. She said they enjoyed going to dinner with colleagues.

“His favorite thing in the world was getting together with friends,” she said.

Mr. Large traveled often for work, but was always eager to get home. He was a board member of the USLAW Network. While at its conference a week ago in Scottsdale, he participated in educational seminars and social events. His wife said he collapsed at the conference and died. She said there has been a huge outpouring of support from the legal community.

“My house is like a revolving door,” she said. “There is so much support and love. There’s a lot of people very sad about this. He touched a lot of lives, even more than I knew.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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