John Conti, a longtime Bangor lawyer who served on the City Council as the city contemplated its future without the Dow Air Force Base, died last week at a hospice care facility in Long Beach, California. He was 90, according to an obituary shared by his family.
Conti, a native of Bar Harbor and a graduate of Bowdoin College, got his law degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., before returning to Bangor with his wife, Janet, to practice law at Eaton Peabody.
Conti served on the Bangor City Council from 1963 to 1966, including one year as chair, during a pivotal time in the city’s history.
A year after his election, in November 1964, the Department of Defense announced that Dow Air Force Base would close. The following year, Bangor formed a task force to figure out what to do with the base property, which Conti chaired throughout 1965 and 1966. The committee eventually decided to purchase most of the base from the military, and turn it into what today is known as Bangor International Airport.
During his council tenure, Conti also oversaw work to clean up pollution in the Penobscot River, and was on the Urban Renewal committee that oversaw federally funded efforts locally to remove blighted buildings and allow for their redevelopment. Conti later served on the board of governors for the Maine Bar Association, and was a Mason and Shriner. He also served on the board of the directors for the Boston Shriners Hospital.
Conti was an avid skier and golfer, especially at Bangor Municipal Golf Course and Sugarloaf. Upon his retirement in 2000, Conti and his wife moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina, though they returned to Maine in the summers. Janet Conti died in 2013, and in 2019, Conti moved to live in California with his son, Bob, and his husband, Will, by whom he is survived.