Wendall Large Obit

Wendell Large died suddenly and shockingly of a heart attack on April 7, 2018. He was a devoted husband to Soozie, father to Nellie and grandfather to Nellie’s young son, Josiah. Wendell was a superb lawyer, talented not only in the courtroom and in handling cases but in his insight, creative solutions and his genuine love of the profession. He was a friend to all and an advisor or mentor to many, always a good listener with good advice. He was known for his ready smile, good humor and soft remnants of a southern drawl. We are devastated by his loss.

Wendell Graham Large, an aptly named giant of the legal profession with an outsized circle of friends and acquaintances, died April 7 of heart failure while attending a USLAW conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Wendell is survived by his beloved wife, Soozie, and daughter, Nellie, and her partner, Juan Garcia; his grandson, Josiah Angel Garcia (“Jag”); his sister, Leslie-Ann Stevens, and her husband, Mark; and four nieces.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 21, 1953, the oldest child of the late Nelson Darrow Large and Sally Ann Graham Large, Wendell graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina and earned his JD at the University of Virginia School of Law. A resident of Maine since 1976, he was a founding partner of Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, where he focused on jury and court trials, arbitration, and regulatory proceedings concerning professional and product liability claims and large exposure personal injury claims.

Wendell radiated warmth and consideration and was effortlessly generous with his time and attention to family, friends, and colleagues alike. As a friend wrote from China, “They must have an urgent and desperate need for good people in the Afterlife/Heaven, to call him so suddenly.” He was at once an unfailingly thoughtful listener who made others’ interests his own, and he was an easygoing storyteller. He touched all with his devoted loyalty, his infectious optimism and gentle humor, and his hospitality, which he extended and accepted in equal measure. Explaining their partnership of more than thirty years, Soozie and Wendell both told of how it began when he came to dinner on Peaks Island and never left. He was especially supportive of Soozie’s work as a printmaker and ceramicist, and her beekeeping in their incomparable garden. They travelled extensively throughout the United States, and Wendell was especially enamored of Wyoming and Montana.

Wendell was a superb and highly respected attorney, renowned for his courtroom presence and his genuine commitment to the law. He was much loved by his work “family,” and his always-open door, mind, and heart made him the first choice to confide in for professional and personal guidance. No one better understood people or treated them with more kindness and civility. Wendell’s compassion, subtlety, and innate integrity inspired the well-deserved confidence of clients, peers, and judges. His intelligence, deep knowledge of the law, and strategic prowess led to enormous success both in and out of the courtroom.

Among his many professional honors, Wendell was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, past president of the Maine Bar Association and of the New England Bar Association, a governor of the American Bar Association, a director of the USLAW Network, and several times co-director of the Maine College of Trial Advocacy. He was also an active member of Portland Trails and served on its advisory board.