WATERVILLE – Rosemary S. Cousins-Thombs, beloved mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, teacher and friend, died peacefully 9:30 a.m. Feb. 21, 2013, after a brief illness. Her two daughters and her two granddaughters were at her side. Rosemary was born May 8, 1939, the youngest child of Edna Dunn Cousins and Leon E. Cousins of East Millinocket.
She graduated from the prestigious Oak Grove School for Girls, Vassalboro, in 1957; she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French literature from Bates College in 1961, where she was a member of Phi Sigma Iota, the foreign language honor society. Rosemary had a very special aptitude for teaching, and whether it was in a classroom, in a private studio or in her home, as she raised her daughters, nearly every day of her adult life was spent in some form of teaching and learning. She began her teaching career in the English and French departments at Stearns High School, Millinocket, where she met her future husband, David Thombs, a first-year teacher in the mathematics department. Rosemary taught at Foxcroft Academy, Dover-Foxcroft, for three years before moving with her family to Waterville in 1967. She also taught French and dramatic arts at her alma mater, Oak Grove School, in the late 1960s. In her later life Oak Grove School once again occupied a prominent place in her life – together with her lifelong friend and classmate, Claranne Hume “Lilly,” Rosemary helped to establish an annual reunion and alumni association for the school, serving for several years on the board of directors of Oak Grove Foundation and co-chairing the reunions each year. When her daughters were in high school, Rosemary began a second career as a piano teacher, which continued for more than 30 years, right up to the weeks before she died. She loved her students and her students loved her! Her studio was filled with photographs of her students and drawings and cards from them, all serving as a testament to the deep relationship she shared with her students throughout the years. Among her other loves were gardening, literature, poetry, classical music and classical movies, as well as the history and culture of the British Isles, and her large extended family. “Aunt Rosie” was an important part of every family gathering, and she was an ardent supporter of every activity in which her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She was at every ballet recital, every concert, every play and remembered every birthday.
Rosemary is survived by her two daughters, Mary Thombs of New York City and Margaret Cole of Durham; grandchildren, Elizabeth Cole, James Cole, Rebecca Cole, Liam Cole, Aidan Cole and Evan Robinson; sisters, Margaret Cousins of East Millinocket and Priscilla Nutting of Clinton; sons-in-law, John Cole and George Robinson; brother-in-law, Chester Nutting; 17 nieces and nephews; and many much-loved great-nieces and great-nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; brother, Leon Cousins; and former husband, David Thombs.
A service and reception commemorating Rosemary’s life will be held 3-5 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Veilleux Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Waterville. In lieu of flowers, contributions to help defray the funeral expenses are welcome and appreciated.