Mary E. Walker, 107

FRYEBURG — Mary Elizabeth Walker, believed to be the second oldest person in Maine and the oldest in Oxford County, died peacefully on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, at the age of 107.

She was born Nov. 29, 1908, at home in Mexico, Maine, the oldest child of Michael J. and Euphemia (McDougall) Ionta.

Mary Elizabeth, known much of her life as Betty, lived in her home at 57 Elm Street in Fryeburg, for much of her adult life, until the age of 105! She and her husband Raymond Walker, whom she married in 1931, purchased the house in 1946. In April 2014, Betty moved to the Fryeburg Health Care Center.

Betty enjoyed a long teaching career of more than 42 years, after graduating from local schools and furthering her education at Farmington Normal School, the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State. She was much loved and admired by students and local citizens! And she had a remarkable memory for her students’ achievements and foibles. She would bump into a student on the street who would recognize Mrs. Walker, because Betty looked pretty much the same from about 50 years on. The student, possibly 50 years or more by then, would eagerly identify him or herself. Mrs. Walker would inquire after the family and the siblings of the former student, whom she also had taught, and who had been, Mrs. Walker forthrightly would announce, either better behaved and more advanced or not.

Mary Elizabeth was active and social throughout her life. In her later years, after retirement, she held court in her house. Much of the neighborhood would gather or drop in during the day, and she would preside. As late as her 104th year she entertained guests at her home where no less than 10–12 visitors would drop by daily!

At age 99 she made a presentation at the local Fryeburg Kiwanis Club, describing the world of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse when she had started out as a teacher. At her 100th birthday party she danced a waltz, which she had practiced at home, with a local, much younger, male partner. And, perhaps most of all, she treasured an award from the Maine Teachers Association, presented to her at age 99 at a huge luncheon at the Augusta Civic Center.

At age 105, Mary Elizabeth Walker moved to the Fryeburg Health Care Center, where she participated in many activities — bingo, exercise class, choir, and church. And she acknowledged, when pressed that indeed she was very popular there — a “rock star.” For Mary Elizabeth had a cheerful disposition, was very forthright and found happiness in her surroundings.

Mary Elizabeth Walker and Raymond Walker had one child, Michael George Walker, who predeceased his parents at age 43 in 1987. She is survived by one sister, Margaret Cochrane, 103 years old, and by her beloved granddaughters, Kristin Levering Crisafulli, Wendy Elizabeth Hillwalker, Tracey Walker Hobbie and five great-grandchildren, as well as generations of friends, family and former students.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 2, 1016, at the Congregational Church in Fryeburg. Interment will be at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Fryeburg. In lieu of flowers, if you would like to make a contribution in Mary Elizabeth’s name, she requested contributions to the Fryeburg Congregational Church, the Lutheran Church in Conway, New Hampshire, Fryeburg Academy, the Brownfield Food Bank, or the Fryeburg Historical Society. Arrangements are in the care of the Wood Funeral Home, 9 Warren St., Fryeburg. Words of condolence and tribute may be shared at www.woodfuneralhome.org

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