Elizabeth Carter Warren, whose lifelong devotion to community service inspired her involvement in health care, education, the arts and the environment, died Sunday at home in Bangor after a long co-existence with Frontotemporal Dementia.
She was the wife of Bangor Daily News Publisher Richard J. Warren.
A native of Caribou, Beth Warren, 69, devoted countless hours to the greater Bangor community. She served on the board of Bangor Theological Seminary for many years and worked in support of what is now the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine, as well as Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia Hospital, the Salvation Army soup kitchen, Meals for ME and other social service organizations.
In 2006, the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce recognized the Warrens’ commitment to Maine by awarding them its highest honor, the Norbert X. Dowd Award for community service and the advancement of business.
“Growing up in Caribou,” Beth Warren said in 2006, “I have always had a strong and proud sense of place, a sense of community that has kept me centered. Just knowing everyone, being connected with the lives of people around you, makes you care more deeply about them. It comes from the understanding that we’re all in this together.”
She attended Caribou High School and graduated from Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, according to her obituary. Beth Warren earned a degree from Westbrook College in Portland and a certificate from the Katharine Gibbs School in Boston.
A lifelong learner, Beth Warren took additional courses at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the University of Maine and the former Bangor Theological Seminary.
She believed that working at the grassroots level afforded her abundant opportunities to make the personal connections that she found so rewarding.
“In Maine, it’s easy to make a difference by the little things you do,” Beth Warren said in an article published in the chamber’s annual report. “When you deliver meals to people, you may be the only person they see that day. And no matter who they are or where they live, they appreciate that small gesture so much.”
She served on the boards of Bangor Children’s Home, Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine Maritime Academy, Westbrook College, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia Hospital, the Maine Board of Bar Overseers, Merrill Merchants Bank and the Maine Center for the Arts Advisory Board, and served as parent representative to the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees. She was a member of the Altar Guild at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bangor and an active member of the Shakespeare Club.
Sen. Susan Collins, also a Caribou native, expressed condolences to the Warren and Carter families Monday in an email.
“From our time growing up in Caribou to our years as neighbors in Bangor, I knew Beth Warren as incredibly friendly, vivacious and kind,” Collins said. “She had a unique talent for making everyone feel valued.
“Beth also was a committed, engaged citizen who cared deeply about her community and state,” the senator said. “From health care and education to the arts and the environment, she lent her energy, time, and intelligence to helping make Maine such a wonderful place to live.”
Alicia Anstead, a former arts writer for the Bangor Daily News, described Beth Warren as “a champion, a devotee and a really good friend of the arts and artists in Bangor and throughout the state,” who had “a very, very bright spirit.”
“If we were living in an earlier era, she would have been called a grand dame, but in our time she was a powerhouse,” said Anstead, who is now the associate director for programming at the Office for the Arts at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “She never drew lines. She sought out ways to be inclusive and generative and generous in the arts. She led with her heart.”
Dee Dee Bullock of Orrington on Monday recalled Beth Warren as “a great friend with a bubbling personality, who was warm and gracious and had a great sense of humor.”
Bullock said that she and her husband, Bill Bullock, traveled a great deal with the Warrens as couples.
“She was a dear friend who would bend over backwards for anybody and everybody,” she said.
Tom Palmer, who was vice chairman of the chamber in 2006, said the Warrens’ generous dedication to the greater good set Bangor apart from other cities where he had lived.
“Bangor depends on community service more than any other place I’ve known,” he said then. “That’s what makes it so special, and why we’d be lost without people like the Warrens.”
In addition to her husband, Beth Warren is survived by her children, Courtney Adragna, George Warren and Anne Warren; son-in-law Scott Golding; her brothers, Bearce Carter and his wife Nona, Nicholas Carter and his wife, Susan; her sister-in-law Carolyn Mowers; her grandchildren,
Grace, Holden and Carter Adragna, and William and Charles Golding; her nieces and nephews, Lise and Joseph Carter, Sarah and Andrew Carter, Scott Farley and Jennifer Mowers.
She was predeceased by her first husband, Joseph Sewall.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 225 French Street, Bangor, with the Rev. Canon Marguerite A.H. Steadman, rector, officiating.
The family has asked that gifts in her memory be made to the Eastern Agency on Aging, 450 Essex Street, Bangor, Maine 04401 or eaaa.org.
Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com.