March 24, 2019
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ORLAND – Dr. Clarine Coffin Grenfell, of Orland, died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004, at the age of 93. Dr. Grenfell was the daughter of Millard F. and Clara Coffin and grew up on Broadway in Bangor. She was predeceased by her husband, the Rev. Jack Grenfell, by her sister, Lillian F. Coffin Collins, and by her four brothers, Merle L. Coffin, Lloyd O. Coffin, Millard F. Coffin Jr., and H. Bartlett Coffin. Dr. Grenfell was an alumna of the University of Maine (A.B. 1932, Phi Beta Kappa) and the Hartford Seminary (B. Div., 1938). Her first teaching position was in Hermon, Maine, at age 17. An inspiring and creative teacher, she went on to teach in Bangor High School and in schools in Bethel, Woodbury, Bloomfield, West Hartford, and Westport, Conn., keeping lifelong relationships with many students. She also worked as an editor and reading consultant for Reader’s Digest and as a reading consultant for the state of Connecticut. Retiring from teaching in 1980, Dr. Grenfell began a small publishing house in Orland, publishing books by Maine authors, inspirational books, and her own memoirs and poetry. She was the author of The Caress and the Hurt, Women My Husband Married, A Backward Look, and Roses in December. Dr. Grenfell took great delight in reading from her works and did so extensively before audiences throughout the United States. She was one of the founders of the Maine Christian Writers Conference and led Elderhostels throughout New England on the importance of telling your own life story. To honor her lifelong commitment to literature and teaching, Dr. Grenfell was awarded a Doctorate in Humane Letters by the University of Maine in 2002. An active churchwoman, supply pastor, and licensed local preacher in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Grenfell preached when young in the churches in Dixmont and Hermon, and in later years conducted many weddings and funerals, as well as teaching in Christian education programs and writing and directing church plays and pageants. She was the coordinator of Steeple People, a campaign to restore the steeple of the Orland United Methodist Church. A member of Phi Mu and Class Poet of the UMO Class of 1932, Dr. Grenfell was an active member of the Alumni Association of the University of Maine and wrote the Golden Bears column for Maine Alumni Magazine from 1996 to 2002. In 1990 she celebrated her 80th birthday by inviting friends and family to join her in establishing the Grenfell Poetry Prize to recognize outstanding student poets at the University of Maine. Doctor Grenfell is survived by her son, the Rev. Dr. John Millard Grenfell, and his wife, the Rev. Linda Littlefield Grenfell, of Plainville, Mass.; and by her two daughters, the Rev. Lornagrace Grenfell Stuart, and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert O. Stuart, of Frenchboro; and Pamela Grenfell Smith, with her husband, Eliot R. Smith, of Bloomington, Ind. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren, James Edgar Bowron III, Clara Bowron Davidson, Tamarleigh Grace Lippegrenfell, St. John Grenfell Bowron, Talessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee, Trelawney Jean Grenfell, Miranda Smith Hassett, Trevanna Frost Grenfell, Thomas Grenfell Smith, and Trevanion John Grenfell; and by four great-grandchildren, Jack, Finn, and Sara Catherine Davidson and Telynia Grenfell-Lee. A memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004, at the Orland United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Tracy Reeves and Pastor Ron Chaffee, minister of the Old Town United Methodist Church, officiating. Private interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor. Memorial gifts may be made to the Grenfell Poetry Prize Fund at the University of Maine, Office of University Development, 101 College Ave., Orono, ME 04473-4268. A service of Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor.

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