Eleanor Smart Parker, 96

Eleanor Smart Parker

Eleanor Smart Parker

AUBURN — Eleanor “El” Smart Parker, 96, of North Bridgton, died peacefully on Tuesday, June 25th at Schooner Estates in Auburn.

The daughter of Ella Hansen and Harold Kincaid Smart, Eleanor was born in Portland on March 6, 1917. She attended Portland elementary schools and Deering High School, where she was an outstanding student and athlete, captain of the field hockey and basketball teams and Female Athlete of Deering High School’s Class of 1935. She attended Bates College, where she was active in the Dramatic Club, a Proctor, and served as Class Vice President her Junior and Senior years. She was voted into the Women’s Athletic Association her freshman year, and became president her senior year. She graduated in 1939 with a BA in History and Sociology and was a speaker at Baccalaureate and Final Assembly. She would spend the next 38 years teaching, coaching and substitute teaching in schools throughout Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts. In 1977, just before retiring, Eleanor received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Maine.

Eleanor met her future husband, Chester "Chet" R. Parker when they were both freshmen at Bates. They were married in 1941 and spent 69 years working together in education, raising their family, and sharing their love of sports, travel, and socializing with friends.

Eleanor was active in the Women’s Fellowship of the United Congregational Church in North Bridgton; was a founding member of the Lakeside Garden Club; a member of the American Association of University Women, and a 40-year member of Delta Kappa Gama (the honorary society of women educators) — serving as state secretary for each. She was also a member of Beta Sigma Phi and enjoyed participating in “Red Hats.” Eleanor also served as secretary of her college class and enjoyed planning reunions.

Eleanor was well-known for her hospitality, her love of swimming, reading, games, knitting, art, and gardening. She had an inquisitive mind, a competitive spirit, a ready smile, and a love of good company. She and Chet traveled extensively, sailing with her son in Greece and Italy, visiting Paris, London, Rome, Athens, and Seville. They cruised to Alaska, enjoyed trips to Canada with the Lions Club, a bare boat charter to the Caribbean with her daughter and family, a cross-country drive in 1992, visiting friends and family along the way, and “Spring Break" trips to Florida.

In 2008 Eleanor and Chet moved to Schooner Estates in Auburn, where she enjoyed exercise classes, painting, trips, the book club, completing puzzles, and the many friends that visited. She continued to keep in touch with family and friends through “snail mail” and e-mail and her annual Christmas letter.

Eleanor was predeceased by her husband Chester of 69 years, and her sister Dorothea Smart. She is survived by her daughter Lynn Schiavi and her husband John of Hales Location, N.H. and Naples, Fla.; and son C. Randolph Parker of North Bridgton; two granddaughters, Deborah Schiavi Cote and husband Paul of Auburn, and Katherine Schiavi Melioris and husband Todd of Atlanta, Ga.; five great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Michael Cote, and Evan, Ella Pearl and Bryson Melioris; and sister-in-law, Marion Gibbs of Laconia N.H. Her extended  “family” included Bill and Lee Bearse, John and Nancy Hayes and their children.

The family would especially like to thank caregivers Nicole Sylvester, Sandy Petruska and Rhonda Dow, as well as her Androscoggin Hospice team led by Caryn Bourgoin and Schooner Estates for the wonderful care that both El and Chet received while living at Schooner.

A memorial service will be held at the United Parish Congregational Church of Harrison and North Bridgton, 77 Main Street, Harrison, Maine, at 1 p.m., on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the North Bridgton Library, North Bridgton, ME 04247, or the Bates College Fund, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240.

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