BANGOR, CARIBOU and FLORIDA – Viola Willard, 91, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, unexpectedly at her daughter Linda’s home in Bangor getting out of her red-hot Yaris. She was born June 30, 1922, the daughter of Eugene and Eva (Prue) Damboise of Connor.
Viola graduated from Caribou High School, Aroostook State Teacher’s College, when it was a “normal” school and then University of Maine at Presque Isle with her Master’s degree. She taught in the Caribou and Limestone school systems 40 years, where she molded three generations of young people, many of whom stayed in touch with her. She advocated for the “under dog” when teaching, or sliding on the ice doing outside teacher’s duty. She chose to work with students, who needed help, working hard to not only develop their remedial skills but also their sense of self-esteem. Her first year of teaching at the country school in Connor included eight grades and her sister, Hilda, as a student.
She was a lifelong member of the Holy Rosary Church, Daughters of Isabella, Ladies of St. Anne, Business and Professional Women, and various other civil, church and educational activities in and around Aroostook County. Viola was a snowbird for the last 11 years developing new friendships in Florida who were very supportive. Even in Florida, she tutored students, who were struggling with reading and math.
Vi is survived by her daughter, Linda Willard; siblings, Hartley Damboise and Hilda Turgeon; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a community of friends. She was predeceased by her sister, Gertrude Merchant; and brother, Guilford Damboise.
Throughout her life Viola remained vibrant, active, involved, and caring about those in her life. She was joyful and worked hard to live her faith. She was a rock to lean on when any one needed a helping hand. She enjoyed lots of travel in her early retirement sometimes with friends, sometimes by herself. Her sense of adventure continued and is demonstrated by an afternoon of fun in Sarasota a couple of years ago on a Segway with Linda. On Monday before she died she was on the John Deere lawn mower at Linda’s chasing away Shadow, the dog. We love her for her tough love, caring, tenderness, and being a wonderful role model.
Friends may call 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Lancaster Morgan Funeral Home, 11 Clover St., Caribou, where vigil prayers will be held 4:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at Holy Rosary Church, Caribou, with the very Rev. Jean Paul LaBrie officiating. A reception will follow at the church center. Donations may be made in Viola’s memory to the Caribou Library, Caribou Public Library, 30 High St., Caribou, ME 04736; or a favorite charity of your choice that helps children grow and build self-esteem. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.lancastermorgan.com.