Obituary for Elizabeth M. Duchesneau
Elizabeth (Liz) Marie-Anna Demers Duchesneau died peacefully at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, ME, surrounded by her loving family, on February 17, 2018. She was born in Auburn, ME to Cesarie (Gagne) and Ludger Demers on March 6, 1929. Liz was the youngest of eight children that lived to adulthood. Her father emigrated to the US from Quebec, Canada as a child. Her mother was born in Lewiston to parents who had emigrated from Quebec, Canada to work in the textile mills in Lewiston.
Like the children of many French-Canadian immigrants in New England, Elizabeth and her siblings spoke only French at home and learned English at school. Local business and church related activities were often conducted in French. English was a second language to the people of her place of origin and generation. Around the time of the Great Depression poor immigrant families in the Lewiston-Auburn area had family members who worked in the textile mills, and eventually the shoe industry and shipbuilding at Bath Iron Works. Children were often needed at home to raise crops and care for farm animals if the family had enough land to do this. Elizabeth's family was a poor farming family. Her father had lost a hand in a saw mill accident as a teenager, so there were some farm and household chores that others needed to do. Most of the children went to work in the factories as soon as they were old enough. School was not as important as earning money for the family. Like most of her siblings, Elizabeth left public school after the 8th grade. For this reason, she was especially proud when she was able to complete her high school education with a GED at the age of 63 with the assistance of former Lincoln Academy Principal, Arthur Dexter.
Elizabeth married the late Roger A. Duchesneau in 1948 at the age of 19. They raised six strong, loving daughters during their 40+ years of marriage. Liz lived in Maine most of her life, with the exceptions of Connecticut for about ten years, and briefly in Mississippi. She learned to crochet, knit, sew and embroider at an early age. Her first job was knitting sets of baby sweaters and booties that were sold in department stores. She crocheted doilies and tablecloths and sewed outfits for her six girls. In 1970, Elizabeth and her family returned to Maine, living for many years in Nobleboro, then Newcastle, and also Damariscotta. Liz was an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic community since her arrival in the area almost 48 years ago serving on numerous committees and was a Eucharistic Minister for a number of years. In addition to making delicious breads, baked goods and meals for her family, Liz worked as a cook at The Lincoln Home, Miles Memorial Hospital, and Nobleboro Central School. She also cooked at Little John's Italian Restaurant, Clarissa Ilsley Tavern and The Diner (where the former Back Street Landing Restaurant was located). For 17 years she was also a devoted cook & caretaker for an elderly couple in the Damariscotta area. Liz also helped out at Homeport Supply (a family-owned business of daughter Eva and her husband Steven Frey) for many years until she decided, at age 82, that it was probably time to retire for good.
After so many years of cooking and caretaking for her family and others, Liz moved to The Lincoln Home in the summer of 2016. There she enjoyed having delicious food prepared for her, attending family gatherings, walking outdoors whenever someone could go with her, and skillfully making 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. She enjoyed the activities, companionship of friends, and the beautiful setting at The Lincoln Home. After her passing the following was conveyed to family from The Lincoln Home Executive Director, Lynn Norgang: “Liz started a puzzle before she left Lincoln Home and no one would intrude on it while she was gone. The other day a gentleman came out and said, I just finished Liz’s puzzle … and there is one piece missing. We know where it is.”
Elizabeth was predeceased by all of her birth family, her husband, one child (Elizabeth), and leaves behind six daughters & their families: Eva and Steven Frey of Newcastle, Jane and Dave Whitmore of South Burlington, VT, Anita and Tom Kintz of Groton, CT, Linda and Bill Pierce of South Bristol, Pauline Duchesneau and Laurie Warzinski of Orrington, and Janet and Dale Dolloff of Shenyang, China. She also leaves behind fourteen grandchildren: Ben Frey (and Dancer Jensen-Starr) of Newcastle, Angela (and Jason) White of Nobleboro, Daniel Frey (and Aimee Martin) of Portland, Colin (and Dawn McKenna) Frey of Gardiner, Alex Kintz of Groton, CT, Beth Pierce of Waldoboro, Billy (and Christina) Pierce of Fitzwilliam, NH, Shari (and Jeremy) Wills of Wiscasset, Richard Pierce (and Molly Woodward) of Waterville, Damian Genthner of Napa, CA, Stephen Genthner of Bangor, Jeffrey Genthner of Napa, CA, Samantha (and Ian) Martineau of Lynchburg,VA, and Nicholas (and Maegan) Dolloff of Fort Campbell, KY. Nine great grandchildren, to date, are Eleanor Frey, Lucy White, Eric White, Lydia (and husband William) Johnson, Emily Harrington, Willem Frey, Austin Whitney, Liam Pierce, and Levi Wills.
A Catholic Mass and celebration of life will be held at St. Patrick’s Church, Academy Hill Road, Newcastle on Sat. April 7th at 11am with recitation of the rosary (half an hour before) at 10:30am. Burial will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston, ME.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences and messages for her family may be expressed by visiting www.StrongHancock.com