September 24, 2019

Portland mourns its city manager Residents, colleagues attend funeral

PORTLAND – Portland residents turned out in force Wednesday to pay last respects to Robert B. Ganley, their longtime city manager.

Mourners crowded Merrill Auditorium for a funeral for Ganley, 51, who suffered a massive heart attack Saturday while shopping at a local supermarket.

City Hall was closed for the day in Ganley’s memory. Police, firefighters and other city employees were well represented at the service.

Mayor Cheryl Leeman remembered Ganley as a quiet and modest man who loved the city and took pride in its appearance.

The service was followed by a funeral procession that included a stop at Hadlock Field for a moment of silence. Ganley played a key role in renovating the field as the home for the Portland Sea Dogs baseball team.

Burial was at Evergreen Cemetery.

Ganley served as the city’s top administrator for 14 years. The City Council named Joseph Gray Jr., director of planning and urban development, as acting city manager.

Gray met with city employees Tuesday and arranged meetings with department heads. He said city employees may hold a special meeting next week.

Ganley’s death came as he was starting the annual budget process at a difficult time when officials were under pressure to raise taxes or cut spending.

Ganley had a family history of cardiac disease, may have had symptoms himself and was reported to be under much stress, said Dr. Donald F. Yorkey, a Westbrook physician assigned to the case by the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

There will be no autopsy because Ganley’s death was natural and the cause reasonably certain, based on discussions with family members, co-workers, rescue personnel and emergency room workers, Yorkey said.

Yorkey said he also was told that Ganley hadn’t looked well in recent weeks.

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