Matriarch of UMaine’s Abbott family dies suddenly

Posted March 06, 2012, at 7:13 p.m.
Last modified March 07, 2012, at 7:37 p.m.

Carol (Stevenson) Abbott, the wife of former University of Maine football coach and professor Walter Abbott and the mother of UMaine athletics director Steve Abbott, died unexpectedly Friday in Bangor. She was 74.

Carol Abbott, a Massachusetts native, adopted Orono as her home after attending UMaine, where she earned a degree in English in 1959. It was there she met her future husband, Walter Abbott, who became an assistant football coach for the Black Bears in 1960 and later assumed head coaching duties from 1967-75.

The Abbotts were married for 52 years.

Carol Abbott raised three children, Steve, Scott and Sherry, and was instrumental in supporting their pursuits, many of which included sports.

“My mother was so supportive with everything that we did — putting up with my dad, putting up with me and my brother. My sister was easy,” Steve Abbott said recently when discussing key factors in his professional successes. “That definitely gave me that sort of backing and stability.”

He explained that his mother always encouraged all of her children, without being judgmental.

“My mother, when I told her I was running for governor, said, ‘Oh, that’s great, I’m so happy for you.’ I could have told her I was doing anything,” Steve Abbott said. “If I told her I was entering a new apple pie recipe in the Blue Hill Fair, she would have said, ‘Oh, that’s great, good luck.’”

According to her obituary in the Bangor Daily News, Carol Abbott enjoyed hosting students and athletes from UMaine and Orono schools — friends of both Walter and the children — at their Orono home.

Carol Abbott was a regular fan at UMaine athletic contests, often sitting alongside Walter at Alfond Stadium, inside Alfond Arena or recently at Memorial Gym.

A memorial service for Carol Abbott is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Orono with a reception to follow 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UMaine’s Buchanan Alumni House on College Ave.

Gifts in Carol Abbott’s memory may be sent to the Carol and Walter Abbott Scholarship Fund, c/o The University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792.

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