Mary E. Stevens

RAYMOND — Mary Elizabeth Stevens of Raymond died peacefully on Saturday, July 23, 2011, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. Her family was by her side during her final days.

Born on Oct. 14, 1922, she was the second youngest of 10 children of Herbert and Elizabeth Desmond, and the last surviving. She passed as she lived with grace, courage, and the virtues, dignity and class of an older time and place.

Her father, the family’s breadwinner, died when she was 10 years old, and at an early age she felt a strong sense of responsibility. She carried the weight of her fair share to help her large Irish family of mother and nine siblings endure the hard times of the 1930s during the Great Depression.

She graduated from Lawrence High School in 1940 and in 1943 married the love of her life, Alton L. Stevens, who was on leave from the United States Army. Together with the Stevens family of Waterville, she helped keep the home fires burning while her husband served up front with the combat engineers in North Africa and Europe during World War II. The marriage flourished for 59 years until Alton’s death in 2003. Perhaps the most loving and tender moments of the marriage were in the last seven years of her husband’s life when she cared for him, essentially by herself, during his long battle and decline with pulmonary fibrosis.

She was a mother, wife and homemaker in the very highest sense of those words, always creating and nurturing a happy, secure, healthy, and comfortable life and home for her family.

She had a sharp and discerning eye for art and antiques and over a lifetime assembled an extensive collection of Colonial, English, and American decorative arts. This was her love and passion, and this love and passion evolved into an antique business that she ran through the 60s and 70s. Decades ahead of her time, her love of antiques was genuine, self generated, and abiding. A life-long supporter of the arts, she was a founding member of the Lewiston-Auburn Arts Council.

As matriarch of the Stevens family, she was the last living link to the family’s early roots and past in Waterville and central Maine from the Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression to World War II and on down to recent times. By virtue of her life and experiences, she embodies what has become known as the Greatest Generation. She was extraordinarily representative of that era of simple, understated, self-effacing goodness.

She was predeceased by her parents; all nine of her siblings; and her husband, Alton L. Stevens, a former executive with Ralston Purina and the food processing industry.

She is survived by her son, Les Stevens of Sanford; her daughter, Kerry Glew of Raymond; her three grandchildren; her three great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

There will be a private celebration of Mary’s life at the convenience of the family in the near future in Raymond. Arrangements are by Independent Death Care of Maine. To offer words of condolence, please go to www.independentdeathcare.com

If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to: Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, 11 Hunnewell Road, Scarborough, ME 04074 to help them continue to provide others with the loving care she received.

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