Friends to all, Marion and Percy Hopkins
Back in the mid 1930s, my family moved to Chestnut Street and had some wonderful neighbors. In those days people did not move often, and hardly out of Camden. All were well acquainted with their neighbors, which included the whole street. Across the road lived a nice couple, Marion and Percy Hopkins and their cute little daughter, Doris Mae.
Percy was born in Camden on Oct. 20, 1907, to Warren G. and Mary Edes Hopkins. They had another son, Charles, and daughter Mildred (Bridges.) Percy was a lifelong resident of Camden, repairing radios and television sets. He was a past member of Amity Lodge of Masons and past high priest of the chapter. Also Percy was a member of the Camden Commandery and the Eastern Star Seaside Chapter.
He was a very quiet, unassuming man, but very well-liked and all were saddened when he died at age 60 in January 1968. His services were at Laites Funeral Home with Rev. Ronald Stead officiating. Entombment was at Mountain View Cemetery.
His wife Marion was born on April 27, 1907, the daughter of Frank and Agnes Hunt Heald. They had three other daughters, Blanche (Bishop) (Pierce), Gladys (Packard) and Doris (Rolerson.)
Marion Hopkins had a very active life in Camden as a Tri-Hi-Y leader, March of Dimes volunteer and with Little League and Camden High School Band Boosters. She was one of the early supporters of special education programs in area schools and a member of the Camden Association for the Handicapped. In fact, she once raised $1,700 from a Silver Tea to benefit the handicap and retarded children in this area in 1971. All funds were turned over to the organized administrators for the trainable class and sheltered workshop under whose name the Benefit Tea previously had been stipulated. It was the most successful tea in the six years Marion Hopkins had conducted it. Mrs. Hopkins had suffered a broken ankle only a few weeks before the tea, but with the Tri-Hi-Y and Hi-Y students assisting, it was carried out with more than 175 people served at Marion Hopkins' home during the day June 3. She was then living on upper Washington Street. Serving at the tea were Miss Lorna Dill of Augusta, vice-president of the Maine Association of Retarded Children, Mrs. Annette Overlock of Warren, Mrs. Donald Allison of Winthrop and Mrs. George Thomas of Camden.
Marion also had, at that time, been honored by the Camden Rotarians for her 20 years of service as their caterer. Every week they had a delicious meal, prepared by that lady.
In addition to her Silver Teas, she was always willing and ready to put on a cooked food sale for any worthy cause.
During World War II, there were six Coast Guardsmen stationed on Camden’s Curtis Island. Marion was their U.S.O. Her home was always open to any or all of them, when they had a short leave, but not time to go to New York or other places where they lived. She always cooked both when they were at her home and sent special treats to Curtis Island. She would have Valentine parties and invite the Camden girls they had met. She easily added those six sons to her family. She had many parties for three or four years for the servicemen, and just enjoyed cooking for them. Her real catering business went on in Camden for more than 50 years, so Marian Hopkins was well known and liked in the community.
She retired in 1973 and wintered in Florida, where she met Arlie Kline from Michigan. They were married in 1975.
On Jan. 19, 1990, Marion, at age 82 and her husband Arlie were found dead at their Florida home. Authorities said both had been in very poor health and Kline took his wife’s life and then his own. Camden was shocked and saddened by the news.
A memorial service for Marion took place the following spring in Camden, with interment to follow. Percy and Marion’s shared stone is at Mountain View Cemetery and their birth dates show 1906; their obituaries say 1907.
Marion's sister, Doris Heald Rolerson, died this past year at age 100. I saw her at a birthday party last May, where the tiny dancing teacher did a scarf dance in 3-inch heels. Very few people in that room (and all of them younger than she) could not have done the lively dance that she did. Life is how you live it, and I am a true believer that laughter and a happy attitude is the answer to a long enjoyable life. It seems to be the characteristics of the centenarians that I know, or knew.
Barbara F. Dyer is Camden's official town historian.