Mary H. Thomas, a former staff at the development office, died on February 4, 2020, in York, Maine.
(The following was published by USobit.com on February 6, 2020)
Mary H. Thomas of Kittery Point, ME, passed away in the early hours of February 4, 2020 at York Hospital, with her husband of 63 years, John, and her eldest daughter, Julia, by her side.
Mary Heskett was born on September 8, 1937, in Milo, ME, the daughter of Jessie MacLeod and John Robert Heskett, who worked as a cook in a lumber camp in the Maine woods. She was raised in Lowell, MA by her aunts, Anne and Carmen MacLeod.
She attended Lowell High School, where she was battalion commander in the Girl Officer Corps. She met John Lester Thomas in the summer of 1955 in his home town of Ocean Park, ME, where she was working for the summer. They were married a year later, in August, 1956.
Mary and John lived in New Jersey for 12 years, where Mary gave birth to their four children and John completed his graduate studies while working for Bell Laboratories. The family moved to Kensington, NH in 1969, and John continued to work for Bell Labs in North Andover, MA.
Mary worked at Phillips Exeter Academy for 16 years, beginning in the library, where she was known for her warmth and interest in students. She moved on to hold positions in the Lamont Gallery and for the Dean of Faculty. During that time she saw her three daughters graduate from the school, became a beloved member of the community, and made lifelong friends.
Upon John’s retirement in 1989, they moved to the Day’s Ferry section of Woolwich, ME. Mary worked at the Bowdoin College development office and was an active member in the Day’s Ferry Congregational Church. Due to Mary’s long-term health issues, they moved to Kittery Point in 2011, to be closer to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she received a lung transplant at the age of 73.
Mary became involved in the Congregational Church. She loved to pursue adventure and was devoted to physical activity, including skiing, hiking and swimming. During the summers, she would regularly swim long distances on Meddybemps Lake, ME.
Always curious and an avid learner, Mary took up violin when she was in her 50s, to express her love for Scottish fiddling. She attended Maine Fiddle Camp as well as Valley of the Moon in the California redwoods, where she had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most accomplished fiddlers. She also participated in the orchestra group Fiddle-icious, and visited Cape Breton Island to study under a young fiddler named Natalie MacMaster. Mary helped to impart her love for music to the next generation by serving on the board of the Brunswick Youth Orchestra.
Mary gained the greatest happiness from giving to others, whether it was her beautiful floral arrangements with flowers from her gardens, a homemade dish, or a hand-written letter. Many will remember Mary above all else for her warmth, generosity and grace.
Mary is survived by her husband, four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Daughters Julia A. Thomas of Newcastle, NH (Anne, Campbell, Blair and Gordon Johnson); Martha J. Thomas of Baltimore, MD (Mary Kelly); Johanna L. Thomas of Kittery Point, ME (Theo and Luca Yassa); and John W. Thomas of Springfield, VA (Susan Gordon and John Robert Thomas).