Rev. George Leslie Cadigan

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  • "Soon after I arrived at Amherst College in `83, George..."
    - Frank Couvares
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    - Susan Partridge
  • "I visited the Cadigan family in Missouri and Lovell as a..."
    - Rena Wynn
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Rt. Rev. George Leslie Cadigan, 95
    Religious Leader and
    Social Activist
     TOPSHAM - Bishop Cadigan died peacefully at his home in Topsham, on Dec. 16, 2005.
     He was born in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., April 12, 1910, the son of Edward and Christine (Lindblom) Cadigan. He attended Amherst College from 1929-1933 where he was captain of the varsity football team that won the Little Three Championship in 1932. After graduating cum laude he studied at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Jesus College, Cambridge University, England.
     Ordained in 1935, he began his ministry at Grace Episcopal Church, Amherst. He then served as rector of St. Paul's Church, Brunswick, (1937-42), Grace Church, Salem, Mass., (1942-48) and St. Paul's Church in Rochester, N.Y., (1948-59).He was elected the seventh Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri in 1959. He retired in 1975.
     He will be remembered as a caring and devoted spiritual counselor to many throughout his ministry spanning eight decades.
     While serving as Bishop, George Cadigan was a leader in promoting social justice, peace, and the civil rights movement. He worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. on racial equality, fair housing and employment. In the 1970s he spoke out against further involvement in the Vietnam War. As an activist for social equality, he joined the Grape Boycott and fought for the rights of Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers in Coachella Valley.
     During his tenure with the Diocese of Missouri, he worked to give laity a greater voice in Diocesan decision and policy making. He was also active in the ecumenical movement.
     In 1966, at the invitation of Cardinal Ritter, he preached in St. Louis Cathedral as the first non-Roman Catholic ever to preach in a Catholic cathedral. In the 1960s and 70s, he traveled on peace missions to Israel and South Africa.
     Bishop Cadigan served on the board of trustees of Amherst College, Hobart College, and Sewanee, University of the South. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Hobart and Sewanee.
     He was a great outdoorsman who loved fly-fishing, canoeing, hiking, tennis and golf. He spent many of his summer months with his family at a home he helped build in Lovell in 1950.
     As an environmentalist, he was director emeritus of the Greater Lovell Land Trust. An avid reader, he particularly liked biographies of Abraham Lincoln and collected books on Lincoln.
     Bishop Cadigan was the minister of Amherst College from 1977-1984. In October of 2000, Amherst College dedicated the Cadigan Center for Religious Life.
     In recent years he lived in the Topsham-Brunswick area of Maine where he lived at The Highlands, a retirement community. In 1997 The Highlands dedicated Cadigan Lodge, an assisted care facility, named after him. During his retirement years, he continued to preach in numerous churches and led a weekly grief-counseling group.
     He was married to Charlotte Young Cadigan until her death in 1943 and was later married to Jane Jones Cadigan until her death in 1993.
     He is survived by a sister, Christine Cadigan Givan; four children, Peter, David, Rufus, and Christine; and seven grandchildren, Matt, Katie, Kelly, Maggie, Jenny, Sara, and Daniel.
     He was predeceased by three brothers, Edward, Charles, and Robert.
     A funeral service will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m.
     Arrangements are in the care of Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal Street, Brunswick.
     In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:
    Greater Lovell Land Trust
    P.O. Box 181
    Center Lovell, Maine 04016
    The George L. Cadigan
    1933 Chaplaincy Fund at
    Amherst College.

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Dec. 18, 2005
bullet Civil Rights
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