Kathleen (Libby) Anderson and Nancy (Libby) Barrett will lead the 2016 Thomaston Fourth of July parade as the grand marshals in honor of their mother, Lura Libby.

The parade will step off at 11 a.m. Monday, July 4. Staging area for the parade will be on Dwight Street by the town cemetery, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The parade will head out from Erin Street, enter Main Street, move south through town center, and disband on Booker Street.

Lura Libby was a Thomaston High School graduate in 1925. Armed with a teaching degree from Gorham Normal School, she started her career in Friendship. She also taught in Rockland before settling in her hometown of Thomaston to teach children in the Green Street School. She married Robert Libby and taught fourth grade until her promotion to principal. Among her students were her brother, brother-in-law, her two daughters, and many nieces and nephews.

Anderson recalls one of her mother’s many passions. “She loved to cook and spent Saturdays making a big dinner of baked beans, homemade rolls and pie," she said. "She used that love to start the ‘hot lunch’ program in the Thomaston schools. She felt sorry for the children who rode the bus and didn’t have a hot lunch.

"She started cooking lunch at our house in the morning or the night before and the next day running home to heat the lunch and bring it back to school so the children could have a warm meal. I was always proud of her," Anderson said. "She had good values.”

Barrett added, “Once the hot lunch program started, our whole refrigerator was full of orange juice for the children.

“There are so many wonderful stories that folks have told me over the years about my mother being their favorite teacher or how kind a teacher she was or the special things she would do for them," Barrett said. "One woman told me that when she was in my mother’s class she didn’t have a sweater to wear to school and my mother noticed she was cold and went right over to our house and got her one of our sweaters. She was kind.”

Libby also served as Knox County delegate to a National Education Association conference in Colorado. She was secretary for the Budget and Planning Committee, and a member of Thomaston Federated Church and the Order of the Eastern Star.

A new Thomaston School was scheduled to open in November 1950, replacing the Green Street School, and Libby was excited about being its principal. But, at age 43, she was diagnosed cancer and died a few months shy of the new school's opening.

Named “Lura Libby School” in her honor, it has been a hometown school to many students and teachers over the past 66 years. This year, the school is projected to close.

Anderson's daughter Lynn Snow followed in her grandmother's footsteps and teaches at Thomaston Grammar School. "I never met my grandmother, but I can feel her presence," Snow said. "Her reputation and the stories that I hear inspire me. It's almost as if I am on a mission to pick up where she left off and continue to reach and teach kids in Thomaston."

In a news release, members of the Thomaston Fourth of July Committee said they are "proud and pleased to have Kathleen and Nancy represent Thomaston as the parade's grand marshals for 2016."

Parade applications for floats, cars, walkers, bands and more can be obtained by sending an email to parade@thomaston4thofjuly.com. The Thomaston Fourth of July Committee encourages participants to show their hometown pride and hometown talent by participating or coming out to view the parade.