ORONO – Mildred Edith Covell, 98, passed away unexpectedly Nov. 21, 2012, surrounded by her loving family at a Bangor hospital. She was born June 27, 1914, in Orono, the daughter of Henry Tewksbury Covell and Eva Laura (Goodine) Covell.
She spent her adolescent years in Orono and Willimantic, Conn. Mildred graduated from Monmouth Academy in 1932 and continued her education at the University of Maine, Orono. She took a year off from college to assist her mother when her brother, Waldo, was born in 1933. She admitted that she did not know any lullabies so she sang the “Maine Stein Song” to quiet her baby brother. Mildred graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics in 1937. She was a proud University of Maine graduate returning to Orono for many reunions. Mildred’s first teaching position was at Ashland High School. One of her duties was to cook “hot lunch” for the entire school system using a wood cook stove! Since this was during the depression, she was paid with “script,” not with legal tender. She loved living at the boarding house and picking potatoes during the annual school break in September. In 1939 she secured a teaching position at Pemetic High School, Southwest Harbor, and taught there until 1943. She was thrilled to attend this year’s Pemetic High School reunion last June, where she saw many of her former students! Because she was very patriotic, Mildred enlisted in the Navy, Sept. 24, 1943. During her service years she was stationed at the Naval hospitals in Brooklyn, N.Y., Plattsburg, N.Y., Long Island, N.Y., Bronx, N.Y.,a and New York City. Also, she served in the naval hospitals in Newport, R.I., and Boston. She was honorably discharged from U.S. Naval Reserve as a pharmacist mate first class and assistant instructor in occupational therapy in March 1946. On enlistment, she was denied officer ranks due to her height being under 5 feet tall. Mildred would later remark, “I don’t know why they had that rule. Women weren’t allowed in combat back then anyway.” After World War II, Mildred returned to the poultry plant in Monmouth, to care for farther and brothers as her mother had died from breast cancer in 1948. She resumed her teaching career at Jordan Junior High School and finally at Lewiston High School. She became head of the home economics department. Mildred also taught certified nurses assistant classes and childcare in Lewiston Adult Education. She obtained her master’s degree in education in 1954 from the University of Maine, taking advantage of the GI Bill. Mildred was a grand matron of Monmouth Eastern Star and was a member and past president of Delta Kappa Gamma Society, an honor society of women teachers until her death. She was a strong union supporter! She was a member of the Lewiston Teachers Association and was the first woman to be president of that organization. Mildred belonged to the Home Economics Association, American Vocational Association and the Maine Teachers Association. She was also on the council for nurses aides and child care training. She was most proud of her fight to gain women teachers’ equal pay for chaperoning Lewiston High School dances. Mildred retired from teaching in 1980, but continued to teach adult education at Lewiston Vocational-Technical High School for several years. Her teaching career spanned 44 years. In retirement she was an avid golfer and swimmer, and loved to travel. She visited Holland, Switzerland, France, the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. She attended the dedication of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Va., in 1997 and met Tipper Gore, Olympia Snowe and Mike Michaud. Her most recent trip was to Florida last February. She loved watching and feeding birds from her kitchen window in Greene. In June 2011, the Greene board of selectmen presented the Boston Post Cane to Mildred as Greene’s oldest citizen. She recently moved back to Orono to Dirigo Pines, Kenduskeag assisted living wing. She enjoyed personal care, fabulous meals and loved Pauline’s “sitter-size” classes and playing bridge.
She was a lifelong Democrat, who loved talking politics, and she was ecstatic over President Obama’s re-election! In October she hosted a “meet and greet” for her favorite Senate candidate Cynthia Dill at Dirigo Pines. Annually, Mildred enjoyed attending University of Maine football games with her brothers and nieces, most recently watching the Black Bears in Alfond Stadium this October. She was an enthusiastic Red Sox fan and never missed the televised Patriots games. She was looking forward to spring training with the addition of Brian Butterfield to the Red Sox coaching staff. “Aunt Mildred” was the sweetest most optimistic and positive lady who will be missed greatly. She was a proud breast cancer survivor, who had been under the care of Dr. Andrew Hertler, chief of the Alfond Cancer Center, Augusta. Mildred’s loving spirit and generosity will live on as she has made an anatomical donation to the University of New England, Biddeford.
Mildred is survived by her brother, Waldo of Waterville; her sister-in-law, Elaine Covell of Orono; her nieces, Teddi-Jann Covell and husband, Don Joseph of Orono, Schari-Fran Roy and husband, Michael, of Waterville, Jewel Powers and husband, Don, of Orono and Sueann Randall ofFreeport; her nephews, Allan Wilson and wife, Joyce, of Suffield, Conn., Scott Wilson and Sue DeRocher of Bristol, Conn., Mark Wilson and wife, Sandy, of Yarmouth, the Rev. Brian Covell and wife, Sharon Cyr, of Chicago, Dr. Dan Covell and wife, Pam Safford, of Concord, Mass., and Jay Covell and wife, Kim, of Glenburn; great-nieces and great-nephews, Darren Casey-Covell of Orono, Carolyn and Molly Roy of South Boston, Mass., and Waterville, Sara and Rebecca Randall of Orono and Freeport, Arron and Nicole Wilson and Brett Wilson of Yarmouth, Jennifer Wilson of Boston, Courtney Nixon and Meredith Doty and families of Oregon and Virginia, Courtney and Nate Campbell and family of Orono, Eric Powers of Florida, Ericka, and Nic and Megan Covell of Bradley. Along with her parents, Mildred was predeceased by her sister, Muriel Wilson and husband, Ralph; sister, Priscilla Onidi and husband, Paul; sister-in-law, Janet Covell; and brothers, Robert and Henry. The family gratefully appreciates the staff at Eastern Maine Medical Center emergency department, including Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Fathio; registered nurses, Anna and Scott; respiratory technicians, Pete and Sarah, and Grant 5 registered nurse, Gail Gillette. Thanks to all the staff at Maine Veterans Home, Bangor, for caring for Mildred last spring. Lastly, we thank the management and staff at Dirigo Pines for making Mildred’s last six months fun and relaxing.
A celebration of Mildred’s life will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Orono United Methodist Church, with reception afterward at Dirigo Pines. A second celebration is planned for Dec. 22 in Auburn. Donations on Mildred’s behalf may be made to the University of Maine Football Program, care of Athletic Director Steve Abbot, Office of University Development, Heritage House, 101 College Ave., Orono, ME 04473 or Third Unitarian Church of Chicago, 159 North Marion, Oak Park, IL 60301.