Martha R. Airey, 75

WEST PARIS — Martha R. Airey, 75, of Sebago, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 after a long, debilitating illness.

Born in Woburn, Mass., in 1939, Martha graduated from South Portland High School in 1957. Following high school, she went on to live and work in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and Michigan. While in Michigan raising her children with then-husband, Elliott Aitchison, she began working on an undergraduate degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Library Science. In an America still not quite ready for strong-willed women in the workplace, she became a role model for her children, embodying the values of education and independence, and particularly the importance of self-reliance. She graduated from Wayne State University with her M.S. in 1980. Subsequently, Martha worked as a librarian in Wayne State’s Medical Library before returning to Maine in 1984, where she worked part-time at the Portland Public Library.

She lived a quiet life in Sebago, on the shores of the lake she loved, fiercely protecting her independence even as multiple sclerosis was slowly putting a halt to her career. When her physically mobility was too compromised to allow continued living in her own home, Martha entered Ledgeview Nursing Center in West Paris, where she spent the last 10 years of her life. Though increasingly immobilized, she never lost her sharp intelligence and cutting wit, and, despite occasional irascibility, was nonetheless beloved of the staff there, who quickly became her new community. She will be sorely missed by all those whose lives she touched.

She is survived by her children, Cecile Aitchison of Portland and Suzanne and Douglas Aitchison of Michigan, as well as two grown grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Arrangements are in the care of the Chandler Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 45 Main Street, South Paris. Words of condolence may be shared with Martha’s family and friends at www.chandlerfunerals.com

Contributions in her memory can be sent to: Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, 15 Strawberry Avenue, Lewiston, ME 04240.

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