June 24, 2018
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Longtime Bangor arts volunteer Marian Vafiades dies at 88

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Marian Vafiades, a longtime Bangor area volunteer in both the arts and in legal causes, died Monday at the age of 88.

Vafiades, wife of longtime Bangor lawyer Lewis “Lew” Vafiades, was known in eastern Maine for her commitment to the arts, especially music. She founded the Bangor Community Chorus in 1970, which is still active today, and co-founded the Opera League of Maine in 1976 with Eleanor Israel.

“She was a very strong advocate for the arts and volunteered a lot of her time to that cause,” Robert Lingley, who served on the Opera League of Maine and Pine Tree Legal Assistance boards with Vafiades, said Wednesday. “She was really committed to this area, and to Maine in general, and to music in particular.”

Originally from Natick, Mass., Vafiades graduated from Milton High School in Milton, Mass., before going on to graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1945 and a year later from Tufts University. She played the trumpet and French horn and participated in a variety of musical organizations.

Additionally, Vafiades was active with the Volunteer Lawyers Project, an organization sponsored by both Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Maine Bar Foundation. She also volunteered at the Phillips-Strickland House in Bangor and was active at All Souls Community Church, where she was beloved for her work in organizing church fairs.

Wilma Bradford, who knew Vafiades for decades and served on the board of what was then the Maine Center for the Arts, noted that Vafiades was a marvelous cook and frequently made huge dinners for her extended family.

“When you were with Marian, you didn’t need to worry about what you might talk about, because she always had something interesting to say,” Bradford said. “She had great insight into a number of things. She was a delightful person to be around.”


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