End of a Design Era: Harriman Pays Tribute to Former President Robert (Bob) Thorpe, P.E.

Feb 02, 2017.

Former Harriman President, and icon, Robert (Bob) Lewis Thorpe, P.E. recently passed away in the comfort and care of family following a short illness. Bob was 87 years old.

An Auburn Maine native, Bob graduated from Edward Little High School in 1946 and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Maine, Orono.

Bob worked for Harriman for 40 years, starting with the firm when it was known as Alonzo J. Harriman Inc. He started as an electrical engineer, advanced to chief electrical engineer, expanded his knowledge to include mechanical engineering and became an associate of the company. He ultimately served as president of Harriman for eight years before retiring in 1991.

Bob was a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. He was a member of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). During retirement, he became a licensed master electrician in both Maine and Massachusetts.

Current Harriman President, Clifton W. Greim, P.E. fondly remembers Bob’s impact and legacy on the company, “Bob was a truly committed and dedicated leader of this organization. He modeled the behavior he expected and was the first to offer assistance in any organizational undertaking. Bob was respected throughout our region of practice and helped to build our foundation of respect and value”, said Mr. Greim. Bob’s fondness for Harriman continued long after his retirement. Just this past Christmas he asked his daughter to take him to find Harriman’s recently opened Portsmouth office.

Bob was a devoted husband to his dear wife, Catherine (Cathy) DeCoster Thorpe, for 33 years. Bob and Cathy’s marriage followed the death of his first love, Ada Oena Marr Thorpe, to whom he had been married for 30 years. Bob is survived by his children and grandchildren from his first marriage.

Civic-minded, Bob was active in local politics, serving the city of Auburn as mayor, city councilor at-large and School Committee chairman. He was on the board of the Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. (MMWAC) as a representative of the City Council. His community service roles also included Auburn Public Library trustee, Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council board member, Lewiston-Auburn Railroad Corp. president, and Boys & Girls Club of Auburn/Lewiston board member. Bob and Cathy hosted two children from the Fresh Air Fund for two weeks each summer for five years.

Bob spent his leisure time gardening, square dancing, visiting sites of educational interest and sailing on Tripp Lake in West Poland and Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester. He treasured time with family, and his family members are grateful for his love and nurturing spirit.