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Linda Bean, an entrepreneur, GOP activist and granddaughter of outdoor retailer LL Bean, has died

Linda L. Bean, a granddaughter of famed outdoor retailer LL Bean who became an entrepreneur, philanthropist and conservative activist, has died at age 82.

Bean died on Saturday, her executive director Veronika Carlson confirmed in a written statement on Sunday. No reason was given.

“Linda was known for her amazing work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and pride and commitment to her home state of Maine and LLBean, the company her grandfather founded,” the statement said. “Our condolences go out to her family and friends.”

Bean’s grandfather, Leon Leonwood Bean, founded the company in 1912. It grew through its popular catalog and offered durable products such as rubber-bottomed boots that came with a lifetime guarantee.

Linda Bean served on the company’s board for nearly half a century. She also bought lobster shops, founded the Perfect Maine Lobster brand in 2007, and owned general stores, inns and vacation rentals on the central coast of Maine, where she lived in Port Clyde.

She helped lead the effort to have Maine’s lobster industry certified as sustainable by a London-based nonprofit, the Marine Stewardship Council, in 2013 – a certification that was suspended in 2022 due to concerns about harm to whales was withdrawn.

Her philanthropic efforts included supporting LifeFlight of Maine’s medical helicopters and the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, as well as promoting the life and preservation of early 20th century illustrator and artist N.C. Wyeth, father of famed painter Andrew Wyeth of the family property.

“Linda Bean loved the state of Maine. Its coastal communities, islands and art, particularly the Wyeths, had a special place in her heart,” Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said in a written statement Sunday. “Linda was also a shrewd businesswoman who promoted Maine lobster in her restaurants. While waiting for my plane in Portland, I would often eat a cup of their famous lobster stew at their airport restaurant.”

Bean was also a major donor to Republican causes, unsuccessfully running for Congress twice in 1988 and 1992. She ran as an opponent of abortion rights, gay rights legislation and gun control and believed in cutting taxes to stimulate the economy.

She also supported efforts to repeal a Maine law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and called on the Defense Department to repeal Obama-era policies that allow transgender people to serve in the military.

In 2017, the Federal Election Commission said Bean made excessive contributions to a political action committee that she funded to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. That prompted some liberal groups to call for a boycott of LL Bean — which they described as harassment by “a small group of hardened tyrants on the left coast, the West Coast in California, who are trying to control what we do, what we buy, what we sell in Maine.”

Trump defended them and urged his followers to buy the company’s products.

“Although her politics did not align with mine, Linda and I found common ground in our mutual love of our home state, the Maine coast and our working shores, Maine-inspired art and the perfect Maine lobster roll,” Governor said. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said in a written statement: “I enjoyed her company and admired her business acumen. “On behalf of the people of Maine, I extend my deepest condolences to Linda’s family and loved ones, as well as the entire LLBean community.”

Information about survivors was not immediately available.

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