Mary Louise Williams Haskell of Yarmouth died peacefully in her home surrounded by her family on Sunday, June 19, 2016, just three weeks before her 95th birthday.
She was born in Auburn on July 9, 1921, the daughter of Roger Leonard Williams and Susan Bradford Merriam Williams. She graduated from Colby Junior College for Women and Connecticut College for Women. In 1946, she married Weston Bradford (Brad) Haskell Jr., also of Auburn. She was predeceased by Brad in 1983; by her brother Roger (Bud) Williams in 2000; and her son, Weston Bradford (Wes) Haskell III in 2011.
After a brief time in Old Town, Mary Lou and Brad moved to Massachusetts in 1947, living in Boston, Waltham and Concord. Mary Lou, a graduate in early childhood education, was involved in the Concord schools and community.
In 1957, Mary Lou and Brad moved to West Simsbury, Conn., where she continued to be active in the community. She and Brad established the first Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Simsbury. In the mid-1960’s she returned to teaching preschool, deepening her commitment to early childhood education.
In 1979, Mary Lou and Brad came back to their beloved Maine. They enjoyed three happy years of retirement in Dresden, where they developed a small farm, contributed to the community and made dear and lasting friends.
After Brad’s death, Mary Lou relocated to her family’s’ property in Yarmouth, building The Cottage, a gathering place for all. She spent her remaining years engaged in this community and in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She was among the first group of citizen-ambassadors to travel from Maine to Arkhangelsk, Portland’s sister city in Russia. She was very active in the Village Improvement Society, the Yarmouth Historical Society and the First Universalist Church of Yarmouth.
Mary Lou enjoyed many sports and activities, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, spending time at the beach, sailing, canoeing and gardening. She delighted in playing bridge with her numerous friends. She was involved in discussion groups focusing on the topics of social justice, early childhood education, the environment and the protection of Casco Bay. Her happiest moments were spent with her grandchildren, creating sculptures of wood, playing badminton or sharing treasures from the beach.
Mary Lou was consistently at the forefront of new ideas, grounded in her desire to live a healthy life and make the world a better place. She had a fabulous sense of style, a lively intelligence and a kind word for everyone. She will be deeply missed and remembered by many, including her daughters, Lucia Haskell McBee of New York City; Sarah Haskell and her husband, Benjamin Fowler, of York; and Amy Haskell of Yarmouth. She was an integral and loving part of the lives of her grandchildren, Cary Paul McBee and his wife Tania Hakkim McBee, Louisa McBee, Jeff Kramer, Robin Fowler and his fiancé Rebecca Rudolf, Jackson Haskell, Dr. Emily Kramer, Lucas Haskell, Abagail Kramer, and Zoe Fowler. She also leaves behind many nieces, nephews and friends of all ages.
A celebration of Mary Lou’s life will be held on Thursday July 7, at 3 p.m., at Camp Hammond, 275 Main Street, Yarmouth. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mary Louise Williams Haskell scholarship at the Early Childhood Education program at Southern Maine Community College.
Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives 374 US Route 1 Yarmouth, www.funeralalternatives.net.