John Batherson, a decorated World War II
veteran and a Maine judge for 36 years, died Thursday at Central
Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He was 85.
Batherson was a native of Rumford, where he lived with his wife
of 57 years and raised four children.
During World War II, Batherson flew 21 combat missions in Europe
as a radio operator and gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. He
and the rest of his crew were shot down behind enemy lines in
Yugoslavia and evaded German troops for a month before making their
way to safety.
After the war, Batherson earned a law degree and practiced law
in Rumford. He was appointed as a municipal judge by then-Governor
Edmund Muskie in 1958, and later served as a district judge until
his retirement at age 72 in 1994.