DIXMONT – Eleanor Alice Toothaker, 94, died peacefully July 22, 2006, at the home her great-grandfather built in 1826, where she was born Dec. 23, 1911, and where she had lived since 1972. She was the only child of her beloved parents, Llewellyn Parker and Sarah (Canney) Toothaker. Education – her own and others – was a lifelong passion for Eleanor. She attended the White or Toothaker school in Dixmont from 1917 to 1924. When her father died, her mother sold the farm animals and machinery and moved with Eleanor to Pittsfield, where she finished grammar school and graduated from Maine Central Institute in 1930. She earned a teaching degree from Farmington Normal School in 1932 and graduated from the University of Maine in Orono in 1953, chalking up additional credits toward a master’s degree. From 1932 to 1936, she taught school in New Sharon, maintaining throughout her life contact with friends she made there. From 1936 to 1972, she taught in Pittsfield, sharing an apartment with her mother and her friend, Fannie Gilman. She taught in each of Pittsfield’s grade schools, ending her career at Warsaw Junior High. She touched the lives of many pupils, imparting to them, in addition to the subject matter of schools, the lessons that life teaches and a good bit of herself. During the Depression, she bought milk and clothes for children in her classes who could not afford either and made sure each received a Christmas present. Eleanor was devoted to her community. Though cancer complicated her movements the last several months, she was determined to attend town meeting. The holder of Dixmont’s Boston Post Cane, which she received at a Dixmont Historical Society meeting on Aug. 25, 2004, Eleanor held court – democratically of course – and joined in the governing of her home town one last time. Eleanor well knew the value of direct participation in local government. An historian of her family and town, she collected stories, pictures, postcards and other memorabilia, including an authenticated 13 stars and bars flag she donated to the Dixmont Historical Society. In November 2004 she published “A Collection of Dixmont Tid-Bits” taken from town reports from 1981-1982 to 2002-2003. In 1976 she wrote the Dixmont Town History, updating the history her father had written in 1907. She was active in planning and celebrating Dixmont’s sesquicentennial and the United States’ bicentennial, cutting quite a figure July 9, 1976, at the Colonial Ball where she was escorted by her cousin Amos Kimball. A prescient recorder of past events, she was a member of Dixmont’s bicentennial committee planning the town’s 2007 birthday. Eleanor was fond of sports, children and dogs and was generous with her time and energy. She was active in Girl Scouting for more than 20 years. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Pittsfield and attended the Dixmont United Methodist Church. She was a 50-year member of Bethlehem Chapter Order of the Eastern Star No. 36 and a 50-year member of the Dixmont North Star Grange. Since 1972 she was a member of the Carmel-Etna Extension. For more than 10 years she was a member of the Manson Park Committee and the Dixmont Cemetery Committee. She was a member of Waldo Retired Teachers, the Dixmont Ladies Club and the Jolly Neighbors of Brooks. She was an honorary member of the Arts Club of Pittsfield. Many cousins, among them Edward S. Brown of South Portland, Everett Simpson of Corinna and John Miller of Newburgh, and friends will remember Eleanor fondly and celebrate her life, including her cousins Sally Brown McManus of Bangor and Suzette Merchant of Newburgh and friends Julie Bonin, Janet Mitchell and Debbie Bryant of Dixmont whose loving care for her allowed her to spend the last of her life in her home. Friends may call 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, at the Etna-Dixmont Elementary School, Route 143, Etna, where funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, with the Rev. Peg Moser officiating. Interment will take place at Simpson Corners Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Eleanor’s name may be made to Maine Central Institute, 125 S. Main St., Pittsfield ME 04967 or the Bangor Humane Society, 693 Mount Hope Ave., Bangor ME 04401. Arrangements by Shorey Funeral Chapel, 35 Hartland Ave., Pittsfield.
ELEANOR ALICE TOOTHAKER
Posted Sept. 25, 2008, at 11:20 p.m.