ORONO – Arline K. Thomson died Sept. 8, 2010, two days short of her 98th birthday, at Dirigo Pines. She was born Sept. 10, 1912, in Lawrence, Mass., the only child of Joseph A. Clough and Alice G. Hulford. Arline graduated in 1930 from Edward F. Searles High School, Methuen, Mass., and in 1934 from Massachusetts School of Art – now Massachusetts College of Art. She was awarded an honorary degree from Massachusetts College of Art in 1993. Her love of art in books led her to pursue further courses in book binding and printing from 1948 to 1951, while her late husband, Robert B. Thomson, was engaged in graduate study at Columbia University. For several years after graduating from Massachusetts School of Art, Arline spent a brief apprenticeship in advertising, first in Boston then to New York, in advertising, book design and illustration. In the early ’60s, she began to do freelance artwork for University of Maine and in 1962 became an artist and graphic designer for Department of Public Affairs and Central Services and book designer for University Press. Although officially retiring in 1985, Arline continued working on an “as needed” basis until 1994. Arline and Bob Thomson started summer visits to England in the mid-1970s. On her first visit, Arline found herself drawn to the city’s architecture that existed during the reign of Elizabeth I. During these visits to London throughout those first 10 years, she explored London guided by a book first published in 1598. She recorded her observations in pen and ink drawings, and her experiences in a journal. Her hundreds of sketches and journal notes became the subject of these exhibits at University of Maine. Colleagues here and in England, began encouraging her to think of publishing, which resulted in the publication of “Discovering Elizabethan London” containing 160 sketches completed on location at sites in London. The sketches are accompanied by excerpts from her journal entries. Her own words described her feelings about that project: “This is nearer to my heart than anything I’ve ever done. There’s a lot of me in it, even in the littlest of ways when, in my journal entries, I spoke of cats whenever I came across them. I’m sure my love of England shows. And I realize that none of this would have happened if I had not been in London with Bob that first year. I just fell in love with the place. It felt like home. Publishing is a crowing effort of all that has been done in the past years.” In 2007, Arline was the recipient of the 2007 Vincent A. Hartgen Award, presented by the University of Maine Patrons of the Arts, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the arts at the university. In presenting the award, the chair of patrons, Danny Williams, stated that, “in her own quiet, mild mannered way, Arline has had a profound impact on our community. It is a testament to her artistry that work she did as a graphic designer years ago is still being used today. She’s a treasure.” Beginning in the late 1940s, Arline and Bob enjoyed their summer months at Port Clyde. In recent years, after it became difficult to enjoy her cottage, Arline had the pleasure of selling her cottage to Herring Gut Learning Center, a non-profit school formed by Phyllis Wyeth to help local students gain a higher education. Relatives and friends are welcome to call 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, at Brookings-Smith, LaBeau Chapel, 72 Main St., Orono. A funeral service will be held 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at St. James Episcopal Church, Old Town, with the Revs. George Lambert, interim rector and Canon Mary Ann Taylor, officiating. Interment will be at Lawndale Cemetery, Stillwater Avenue, Old Town. After the services relatives and friends are invited for conversation and refreshments at the undercroft of the church. Those who wish to honor Arline and her late husband, Robert B. Thomson, may make gifts to University of Maine Foundation, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792 to augment a fund known as “The Robert B. Thomson Honors Center Fund.” Condolences may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.
ARLINE K. THOMSON
Posted Sept. 08, 2010, at 7:21 p.m.