Francis Ackerman

Obituary
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Francis Edward Ackerman
1951 - 2018

PORTLAND - Francis Edward Ackerman passed away on Aug. 12, 2018, in Portland, Maine. Born in Washington D.C. on Dec. 2, 1951, Francis, or "Kicky" as he was called by family and friends, was the son of Edward and Adrienne Ackerman. The family moved to a mountainside in the Vaud, Switzerland, in 1960 for alpine air to remedy his childhood illnesses. At the age of 10, he began his formal education at boarding school in England; first at King's Mead in Sussex; then winning a scholarship to the ancient school of Charterhouse in Surrey, followed by Bedales in Hampshire. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge in 1973 and later earned his J.D. from Boston University in 1979.

Having known each other all their lives, Francis married Anne Marie (Pusti) Buschardt of Holte, Denmark in 1983 after a five-year courtship. They lived in Boston, Copenhagen, and Paris, before moving to Maine in 1985. Settling in an old farmhouse that Francis named 'Bushwhack Farm,' Pusti created beautiful gardens and Kicky explored and tended the "back forty." Here they raised their three children, Cecilia, Anna, and Peter. Over the years, they cultivated many friendships. Kicky was a gracious host with a special flair for creating festive celebrations. Pusti and Kicky saw eye-to-eye on life values, and together made Pusti's Danish upbringing a central part of their family, often bringing it to the wider community. Kicky was Pusti's best friend and the love of her life.

Francis worked as Assistant Attorney General of Maine in Augusta; he subsequently served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Maine for several years. He was respected for his thoughtfulness as a lawyer; the quality of his legal writing, his presentations in court, and his negotiations with opposing lawyers. The legal work about which he cared most were cases that protected people from bias-motivated violence and cases that held businesses accountable to play by the rules, in both anti-trust and consumer protection. For Francis, the practice of law was an extension of his commitment to progressive principles of fairness and justice. Francis did not count his victories or seek praise. It was enough for him to know that, as a result of his work, a family became safe from violence, or a business was required to compete fairly.

Francis retired in 2008. Though many people couldn't tell, he had already had Parkinson's Disease for eight years. Together he and Pusti faced the indescribable complexities of the disease with optimism and courage. By maintaining a life as unchanged as possible for their family, they continued regular travels to Switzerland and Denmark, with visits to the UK, France, and even Morocco. His way of fighting the disease was to challenge it in return: playing ping pong and soccer avidly, climbing Mount Katahdin in Maine and Dents du Morcles in the Alps. In the last decade of his life, Francis and his sister, Julia, co-authored a historical novel. Inspired by a 13th century Icelandic saga, he was fully committed to this endeavor and their tale gave voice to his spiritual journey and wide-ranging imagination. Writing had always been one of his greatest joys.

To his children, Francis was "Far." A loving and devoted father, he taught his children the importance and joy of imagination. He made the world a magical place, where everything had unexpected narratives and came alive. They will especially remember his amazing capacity to write original songs for every birthday and special occasion, waking up to the aroma of his blueberry pancakes, playing games of all sorts together, and his love for their mother.

He is remembered by friends and family across the world for his love of storytelling, proverbs, literature, recitation and song; his fluency with language, whether English, French, or Danish; his old-world intellect, charm and wit; his curiosity and generosity toward friends and strangers alike; and his belief in fighting injustice and helping those who are most vulnerable.
Francis is survived by his wife of 35 years, Anne Marie Buschardt of Augusta, Maine; by his three children, Cecilia Ackerman, Anna Ackerman, and Peter Ackerman; by his four siblings, Helen Weston Ackerman, Julia H. Ackerman, Justin Ackerman, and Tippy Ackerman; his nieces and nephews, Damien Petty, August Popkin, Clair Popkin, Anouk Ackerman, Aurelie Baroni-Ackerman, and Jayden Xu-Ackerman; his five Danish brothers-in-law and their spouses, Peter and Kirsten Buschardt, Jan and Joan Buschardt, Anders and Manuela Buschardt, Claus and Gitte Buschardt, Jacob and Mireille Buschardt, and 11 nieces and nephews in Denmark and Switzerland.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Harrington Meeting House, 278 Harrington Road, Bristol.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the:
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Published in Central Maine on Aug. 15, 2018
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