Mary Louise Stuart Martindell, 1918 - 2020
Mary Louise Martindell died in Portland on Easter morning, April 12, 2020 at age 101.
Mary Stuart was born in 1918 in Rangeley, Maine to Edith Sterling Stuart of Monhegan Island, Maine and Charles Stuart of South Paris. Her mother first left the island at age 18 to find a husband. Charles attended high school in South Paris and then went straight to Tufts Dental School for one year of training to become the first dentist in Rangeley.
At age five, she moved with her family to Portland. Mary attended Nathan Clifford Grammar School, Lincoln Junior High School, and graduated from Deering High School in 1937. She constantly took music lessons. She earned money to pay for these lessons by singing in churches and playing the piano and organ, and she sang songs that were requested by listeners on a weekly radio show.
After Deering, she attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and travelled from Rochester to the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver singing Carmen in the opera by the same name at stops along the way. She also had the opportunity to perform for three summers with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler. All aptitude tests at Eastman indicated she had no aptitude for teaching, so she pursued a career of teaching – teaching music. She studied teaching at the University of Colorado, the Harvard University Extension School, and Northwestern University and she earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching from the Western State Normal School and Gorham Normal School, which later became the University of Southern Maine. She later earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University, and earned enough credits for her doctorate degree but was discouraged from earning that degree because teachers and women shouldn’t earn a doctorate degree in those days! She taught music for 18 years at Traip Academy in Kittery, Beverley High School and Melrose High School in Massachusetts, and at East Greenwich High School in Rhode Island. She finally moved to Jackman, Maine with her second husband, George Martindell, who didn’t want his wife working for money, so she taught for 17 years as a music teacher at the Forest Hills School in Jackman with no pay.
During her summers early in her career she was a camp counselor at Camp Somerset in Smithfield, Maine and Camp Hiawatha in Porter. She taught swimming and canoeing. She became a Maine Guide and led trips down the Allagash, sleeping on pine bough beds. She met her first husband, Jess Dutelle canoeing in Jackman. She enjoyed canoeing and fly-fishing with both her husbands. She outlived them by 41 years.
She moved back to Portland in 1979 to care for her mother. She was an active member of the Chestnut Street United Methodist Church and active in music in Portland. She was also active in programs to help refugees in Portland. In her 80’s she swam 20 laps at the Riverton pool every day at 6:30 a.m. and walked a mile along Baxter Boulevard later in the day. She spent the final fourteen years of her life very happily at the Atrium in Portland. Her century full of experiences combined with her love of God gave her a wonderful appreciation for peoples’ differences.
She enjoyed a fun and loving relationship with her nephew, Robert Stuart from Cumberland, and especially with his wife, Emily.
She will be buried in Jackman this spring. Before she died, she established a scholarship for students in Jackman to help them pursue their aspirations, and she established a scholarship to help Maine students interested in studying at the University of Southern Maine to become a teacher. These scholarships will be overseen by the nonprofit Maine College Circle in Yarmouth. More information is available through that organization.
Her life was guided by a deep faith in God, a love of music, a love of the woods and lakes and streams and people of Jackman, Maine, and by a commitment to a healthy and fit lifestyle. She never ate a dessert in the last ten years of her life . . . at least not while anyone was watching.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Giberson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Madison & Bingham, Maine. To leave a condolence for the family, share a memory, view the online obituary and to share service and obituary information on social media please visit our website at www.gibersonfuneralhome.com
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