Roberta M. Whitney
Topsham — Roberta "Bobbie" Mae Whitney, 79, passed April 30, 2014, at The Highlands in Topsham, surrounded by her family and friends.
She was born June 28, 1934, in Thomaston, daughter of Robert and Marjorie Mayo. Bobbie was the second of five children and is survived by Michael and Richard Mayo. She told of her younger years, playing and getting into mischief on the family farm on Beechwood Street. She excelled in academics, and played softball and basketball for the Thomaston schools.
It was at Cross’s Drug Store that she first met James F. Whitney. Jim tells of immediately falling in love with her, pronouncing to his mother that he had found the woman he would marry that very night. Her charming personality, kindness, and beauty attracted all people.
Bobbie was married to Jim April 26, 1953, and immediately started a family. James Jr. is the first-born, followed by Jeff and Jon. Jim’s work in the blossoming computer industry took them to Massachusetts and New Jersey as the family grew. During this time Bobbie continued to wait tables in the evenings and care for the children during the day. In 1960 Jim took an 18-month assignment to Thule, Greenland and Bobbie, pregnant with her fourth son Jason, returned with the children to live on the family farm on Beechwood Street.
Upon Jim’s return from Greenland he was offered an opportunity in Southern California. Bobbie embraced the new adventure and in 1962 moved to New Port Beach, Calif. Bobbie’s fifth son, Justin, was born later that year.
Bobbie raised her sons with love and discipline, teaching them and nurturing them along through their younger years. She was quick with a hug and a kiss, yet equally responsive with the appropriate discipline to keep five boys in line. The family enjoyed the wonders of Southern California, frequenting the beaches, Disneyland, and taking in the beauty of the West Coast. Jim’s next series of short assignments moved them around the southwest, ultimately bringing them to Phoenix, Ariz. Bobbie and Jim loved the outdoors, camping, hiking, and boating at every opportunity. Their travels across the west were extensive, often loading the kids into the back of the pickup truck and driving long hours to explore the many wonders. It was always “an adventure," quickly planned, minimally funded, and always memorable.
Bobbie went back to school and graduated from Arizona State with a bachelor’s degree in education. She applied her love and confidence in the good of mankind to her teaching and migrated to teach the less fortunate inner city children. She was blind to color or social status and taught her children compassion for those that were less fortunate.
In 1972, Jim and Bobbie moved back to Maine, purchasing a home in Winthrop. Bobbie began teaching at Winthrop High School and quickly became a favorite. Her ability to share her love and compassion was infectious and she touched the hearts of her many students. She coached them through their struggles and was always quick to give them a hug, bolster their confidence, and give them a sense of greatness.
Bobbie returned to school at the University of Southern Maine to complete her master’s degree in education. During this time she took an opportunity to work at the newly-opened Maranacook High School. There she quickly became a leader and provided a balanced perspective for the evolving contemporary educational system. She continued to impact all those that she came in contact with, sharing her passion for education, acceptance of all, and endless fight for the moral high ground.
One of Jim’s last career opportunities took them to Australia where Bobbie quickly developed a network of friends and traveled extensively into the Outback. She loved to explore and learn of new cultures and their history. In retirement Jim and Bobbie would travel to the Amazon and Africa to round out their travels and adventures.
Bobbie was blessed with 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was a nurturing, disciplining, teaching, hugging, and spoiling grandmother and loved to hear of their stories.
Bobbie lived her last year at The Highlands elder care facility in Topsham. She continued to be a mentor, teacher, and grandmother to the caregivers. She viewed them as family and loved the care that they gave her, always apologetic for needing their help. The family would like to extend their gratitude to the tremendous support and love Bobbie and Jim received from the Highlands and Beacon Hospice.
The celebration of Bobbie Whitney’s life will be held Saturday, May 17, at 11 a.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Rockland. She will be interred at Rockville cemetery. In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations in memory of Bobbie to Meals on Wheels, c/o MCH Inc., 46 Summer St., Rockland, ME 04841 (mchinc.org).
Condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Whitney family at longfuneralhomecamden.com. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain St., Camden.