Lincoln Almond, a summer resident of South Wellfleet’s Prospect Hill since 1972, died on Jan. 2, 2023. A former U.S. attorney and governor of Rhode Island, Almond’s death was confirmed in a statement from the current governor, Dan McKee. No cause of death was given. He was 86.
The son of Thomas Clifton and Elsie Carter Almond, Linc was born on June 16, 1936 in Pawtucket, R.I. and raised in Central Falls and Lincoln. His father was a bakery salesman.
Linc graduated from Central Falls High School before joining the U.S. Naval Reserve Submarine Service. While in the reserves, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1959. At U.R.I. he met Marilyn Johnson; they married in 1958. He went on to graduate from Boston University Law School a few years later.
In 1963, Linc began his career in public service when he became the Lincoln town administrator. In 1969, newly-elected President Nixon appointed him U.S. attorney for Rhode Island, a position he held until 1978 and again from 1981 to 1993. Zachary Cunha, the current U.S. attorney, said that Linc “was the scourge of organized crime,” as he prosecuted members of the Patriarca crime family and investigated political corruption during Vincent “Buddy” Cianci’s first term as mayor of Providence.
Linc, a dedicated Republican, served two terms as Rhode Island’s governor, from 1994 to 2003. “His number-one goal,” said Gov. McKee, a Democrat, “was to make Rhode Island a place where people wanted to work and raise a family.”
Toward that end, according to a WPRI public radio report, Linc “backed significant new spending on health care, K-12 education, public colleges, conservation and infrastructure, and signed a law barring discrimination against gays.”
Linc spent most of his summers in Wellfleet, often with his close friends Edward and Helen Franklin. Wellfleet “offered him an escape from the rough and tumble of politics in Rhode Island,” said the Franklins’ son, Doug. Wellfleet also fed the idealism that animated Linc’s political commitments.
“One evening I remember was Aug. 8, 1974,” said Pam Tice, a longtime Wellfleet neighbor. “Nixon was to make a speech on TV, possibly to resign,” she said. “Someone got a TV; we plugged it in on the front porch of our cottage. The neighborhood gathered, including Linc. I made a rich chocolate pie, forever after named Resignation Pie. But when Nixon actually resigned, several of us chose not to cheer, as we did not want to upset Linc, who was a true Republican.”
Linc “cared about children, families, jobs, and education,” said Doug Franklin, and “as Prospect Hill neighbors, we got to hear bits and pieces of his thinking about policies he hoped to implement.” He represented, Doug added, “a moderate Republicanism that I wish we saw more of these days.”
When Linc was governor, he would be flown to the Cape Cod National Seashore headquarters near Marconi Beach in a Rhode Island State Police helicopter. After he arrived, however, he immersed himself in ordinary summer activities. He kept Beetle Cat and Boston Whaler boats in Blackfish Creek and loved to body surf at Lecount Hollow Beach.
On one occasion, Doug recalled, “I caught a really good wave and had a nice run into the shallows. When I stood up, I realized I had shared the wave with Gov. Almond of Rhode Island.”
When Linc couldn’t be in Wellfleet, checking in on neighbors, sitting on a porch or picnic table, or standing in a yard chatting, he would bring Wellfleet to Rhode Island. “He met and escorted two South Wellfleet widows to front row seats in the legislative chamber for his inauguration,” said Doug.
Linc’s Wellfleet neighbors agree that he was a talented politician, friendly, approachable, and caring. When she was a child, Abigail Franklin Archer was taken by the sound of his voice. “He had a deep, sonorous, and distinctive voice,” she said, “and the way he dropped his Rs was different.”
“He was a great storyteller, and most were true,” his obituary in the Providence Journal stated.
“We’ll miss his stories,” Ed Franklin wrote in an email. He added that Linc was “the last cool Republican. I don’t suppose he could get elected today.”
He is survived by his wife, Marilyn; his son, Lincoln Douglas Almond, and wife Lynn of Narragansett, R.I.; his daughter, Elizabeth Cubbage, and husband Samuel of Rockville, Md.; and his five grandchildren, Zachary, Chase, and Keven Almond and Emily and Sarah Cubbage. He also leaves his best friend and political confidant, John A. Holmes Jr.
He was predeceased by his mentor, Raymond A. LaFazia Esq.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Governor and Mrs. Lincoln Almond Scholarship Fund through the University of Rhode Island Foundation, 79 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.
Final arrangements are private.