CAMDEN — Ann Blain Bixler died peacefully Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, just 10 days past her 93rd birthday, in the Courtyard at Quarry Hill with family by her side. There was no long illness, and she had a summer complete with Canadian family visiting after a long COVID delay, a wonderful Bay Chamber concert, and a 93rd birthday party complete with chocolate cake, so she just decided to go out on a high note.

Ann was born in Toronto, Canada, Aug. 22, 1929, the daughter of Monro and Marjorie Blain, and was very proud to be a Canadian. She eventually became a U.S. citizen for the express purpose of negating her husband’s vote, or so she told people. Ann got her bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Victoria College at the University of Toronto, a master’s in student personnel administration from Syracuse University, and went on to be a dean of students at Simmons College.

Ann met Harris J. “Pete” Bixler in London while taking a gap year to teach in England. Pete courted her by taking her to classical concerts, operas, and the ballet. They married in 1956, and they continued to enjoy such cultural events throughout their marriage.

Ann and Pete had their daughters, Sarah and Alleson, while living in Lexington, Mass. At that time Ann became involved with the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union in Boston, an organization started in the 19th century to champion the rights of women and children. While there, Ann worked at Companions Unlimited to provide companionship to the elderly in their homes. Ann and Pete also took in young, unmarried, pregnant women, who had been shunned by their families, through Catholic Charities.

Ann also wanted to show her daughters the enchantment of the arts and took them to productions at the Boston Children’s Theater when they were very young and kept them very aware of their roots by taking them on epic 12-hour road trips, usually in one of her beloved Citroens, to visit her sisters and their families in Canada. There they enjoyed plays at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake and Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival, which Ann had attended off and on since the 1950s.

In 1970 the family moved to Camden, when Pete started working at Marine Colloids in Rockland. Maine was the perfect fit, and Ann absolutely loved living here. Camden was the ideal place to raise their girls, shooing them out the door in the morning and calling them home at the end of the day with the ringing of a cowbell. A core group of dear friends and their families celebrated Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve annually.

Ann became involved in the community by joining the Camden Garden Club, sitting on various scholarship committees, and being the long-time (and sometimes long-suffering as it was in the era long before the cut-and-paste convenience of computers) secretary of her beloved Monday Club.

Ann also taught a crewel embroidery class from her Camden home in the early ’70s, and to this day members of that same class gather on Tuesday afternoons, with the next generation eventually joining, to do what women do when they have needles in their hands: chat, catch up, laugh, commiserate, support, and find peace in the gathering of friends. Some have been in the group for nearly 50 years, and it was a constant source of good friendships for Ann.

Ever the go-getter, Pete had a few more moves up his sleeve, and he and Ann eventually were able to buy a beautiful point of land and build their dream home, Browns Head, in Northport. Despite the distance, Ann continued her Camden connections while making more in the Bayside area. This was the place where family gathered to enjoy each other and the beauty that is Maine.

Ann is survived by her husband, Harris J. “Pete” Bixler; daughters, Sarah Bixler (Christopher Tonkin) of Arlington, Mass., and Alleson Bixler (Dash) of Camden; granddaughters, Lizzie Tonkin of Madison, Wis., and India Tonkin of Arlington, Mass.; sisters, Sheila Metcalfe and Karen Coward (Rick), and her very special, road-warrior niece, Jen Metcalfe, who has kept the Canada-to-Maine transit line open for years; plus many other nieces and nephews, of Ontario, Canada.

The family would like to thank the dedicated help over the years from Bruce Ladd of Lincolnville and Heather Leach of Waldo, whose immense dedication to Ann enabled her to stay at home for as long as was feasible. And also, the very dedicated and loving staff in the Courtyard at Quarry Hill, who took such wonderful care of Ann over the three years she was there, and made sure to crack open a window, when she was passing, so her spirit could catch that first-of-fall cool, crisp Canadian air and ride it home.

The family will have a private memorial with no public service planned. Memorial contributions may be sent to Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School, P.O. Box 599, Rockport, ME 04956. Condolences and memories may be shared at longfuneralhomecamden.com. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain St., Camden.