Mary Ann (Wilhelmi) Betke, 82, wife of George C. Betke, Jr. of Damariscotta, passed away unexpectedly at home on Monday, August 13.
Born in Gadsden, Alabama, she grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, matriculated at Agnes Scott College, received an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Centenary College of Louisiana, and did a year of advanced study at the University of Vermont, followed by a Master’s in Counseling from Montclair State University while raising her children.
A lifetime student of the arts, Mary Ann became an antiques collector and dealer (“Ship Island Antiques”) after moving from Essex Fells, New Jersey to Maine in 1992, where her ready smile and genial personality gained many new friends. She was an enthusiastic participant in the former Round Top Center for the Arts and in the multi-hands merchandise community, and assisted in fundraising for several service organizations. Always interested in travel, she particularly enjoyed arranging numerous overseas trips with friends and family under the non-commercial “Art of Travel” banner.
In later years, Mary Ann was an avid reader and loved to play bridge, do crossword puzzles, attend weekly winter trivia sessions, and watch the Boston Red Sox. She also nurtured a succession of adopted rescue dogs, the last of which barely had opportunity to become acquainted with her.
Mary Ann is survived by her husband of 59 years; daughter, Nancy Heath Betke Shelby of West Orange, New Jersey; son, Richard Eric Betke of Simsbury, Connecticut; and their spouses, Peter Austin Shelby and Leah Marie Stoddard. She was grandmother to Meredith Anne and Melissa Brooke Shelby, Madeleine Grace and Claire Olivia Betke, and Mary Isabelle Stoddard-Betke. Mary Ann was predeceased by a sister, Nancy Olivia Wilhelmi.
Mary Ann Betke led a life of inquiry and used that knowledge to enrich the lives of those who knew her as a wife, mother, neighbor and collaborator. She will be remembered as an upbeat woman with a keen sense of humor and ability to converse on a wide array of subjects.
A community musical celebration of her eclectic life will be held at 4:30pm, on Sunday, September 30, at the Lincoln Theater, 2 Theater Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Donations to the theater in her memory would be welcomed.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.