Mary Haskell
Mary Haskell

Obituary of Mary Alice Haskell

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Mary Alice Haskell Obituary

Mary Alice (Barbour) Haskell, 92, of Deer Isle, Maine, wife of the late E. Douglas Haskell, died April 13, 2023, at Ross Manor in Bangor, Maine, with her family at her side, after living with Alzheimer’s Disease for over a decade. She was born in Blue Hill, Maine, December 19, 1930, to Mary Edith (Davis) Barbour and Winfield Montgomery Barbour. According to a college essay she wrote in 1948, she was born “during one of the worst blizzards of the winter.”

Mary Alice, and her brothers Chandler Austin Barbour and Winfield Murray Barbour, spent their childhood playing and “growing up fast” during the Depression on “the homestead” bordered by Meadow Brook, where livestock and gardens were tended. Life was filled with fun, numerous adventures and many farm responsibilities. Mary Alice vividly remembered running barefoot with her brothers through the fields, climbing the horse chestnut tree on the front lawn, sharing the family’s pet crow and attending fun-filled neighborhood gatherings at “The Oak Vale Clubhouse” in Greenlaw District. Mary Alice shared at her brother’s funeral, “On the homestead we learned lessons that served us well through our lifetimes. Among those lessons learned were integrity, responsibility, respect and the value of family.”

At the age of 8, Mary Alice’s childhood took a tragic turn when her mother died after a sudden illness. Mary, the eldest of the three children, said, “We were a close-knit family.” After two years of struggling to maintain “the farm,” the family stopped farming and moved to Rockland, where Winfield worked at jobs and the children were taken in by a local family.

In 1942, the family returned to the island and life on the farm now included live-in housekeepers. One treasured housekeeper was Grace Colburn, a wonderful role model who greatly influenced the upbringing of Mary and her brothers. This started a lifelong friendship between the Colburns and Barbours.

According to family stories, Mary first drove a car on the farm before she was 10 and was regularly driving on town roads in her early teens to help the family.

Mary Alice was educated at island schools and graduated in 1948 from Deer Isle High School, called McKinley High School at the time. She then attended

Farmington State Teachers’ College 1948-1951, returning to the island to start teaching and to marry Doug Haskell, build a home “on the Hill,” and start a family. After many years of teaching, she returned full-time to University of Maine at Farmington and earned her degree in Education in 1969.

Mary Alice taught multiple generations of island families over her career. “Slews” of islanders still called her “Mrs. Haskell.” And in return, she would proudly introduce someone as “one of my former students.”

“I taught (in several island classrooms) for over 33 years, mostly in Stonington,” she said in 2019. She started her teaching career at age 20 at Stonington Junior High, resumed at Stonington Elementary in 1960 for nearly two decades and concluded at Deer Isle Elementary. “I was always very happy with my co-teachers. I applied for an opening in Deer Isle when there was a shortage of gasoline (1970s),” she recalled.

Mary Alice and Doug first lived in Stonington, and soon built their home on Deer Isle’s Sunshine Road and raised their family there.

She volunteered for years with the Deer Isle Stonington Historical Society and was often found in the archives doing research for others. She and Doug spent countless hours walking and volunteering at Mariners’ Memorial Park, where they checked the visitor register daily. Each time she walked to the park, Mary Alice gazed up and down Long Cove, looking and listening for ospreys, and wondering how the clammers did that day.

She was predeceased in 2014 by her husband of 63 years Edwin Douglas “Doug” Haskell; brother Murray and his wife Lois; sister-in-law Nita Hale Barbour; sister-in-law Bertha Ott and her husband Ray; brother-in-law Raymond A. Haskell; grandson, Benjamin Howard Cowles; daughter-in-law Robin J. Crabtree; nephews Dwayne and Randall Barbour; and niece Sheila Freres.

She is survived by children Jane Haskell of Monroe, Maine and Scott Haskell and wife Nancy Ewing of Bangor; brother Chandler Barbour of Belfast; grandson Jason Cowles and wife Erica Trites; granddaughter Sarah Cowles and husband Steven Ashby; grandson Jackson Haskell; great grandchildren Amelia, Emily and Leif Cowles; and Alexis and Samuel Ashby.

There will be a memorial service celebrating Mary Alice’s life on Saturday, May 20 at 2:30 p.m., at Deer Isle Sunset Congregational Church.

If lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Deer Isle Stonington Historical Society, P.O. Box 652, Deer Isle, ME 04627, Memorial Ambulance Corps, 77 Sunshine Road, Deer Isle or another organization of your choice.  Memories and condolences may be shared on her tribute wall.

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Mary Haskell

In Loving Memory

Mary Haskell

1930 - 2023

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