Margaret S. Hjelm

Jun 14, 2019

Camden — Margaret Stever Hjelm, a resident of Camden and retired teacher at Hampden Academy, died June 7 at her home. She was 90.

Margaret – Peg to her friends – was born March 30, 1929, in Windber, Pa., the younger of two daughters of J. Louis Stever, president of the Windber Trust Company and an administrator of Windber Hospital, and Margaret Powell Stever, a homemaker. After graduating from Windber High School, she attended Wellesley College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1951. While at Wellesley she met Ralph Hjelm, then a graduate student at Harvard University and minister at a Lutheran church in Woburn, Mass., and later a professor at Upsala College and the University of Maine. They were married in 1952 and raised two sons. The marriage ended in divorce in 1985.

Upon graduating from Wellesley, Peg started her career in education at Prospect Hill Country Day School in Newark, N.J., where she taught mathematics and science. After marrying, she spent two years on the faculty of the Winsor School in Boston. In 1954, she and Ralph moved to East Orange, N.J., and in the years that followed she returned to Prospect Hill, left teaching to care for her two young children, resumed her career by tutoring at the Beard School for Girls in South Orange, and later joined the faculty of the Kimberley School in Montclair as head of the math department.

In 1969, the family moved to Hampden and from 1970 to 1993 Peg taught geometry and algebra at Hampden Academy. After her retirement, she took special pleasure in teaching adult education classes to non-traditional students. She made her home in a centuries-old colonial house on Main Road in Hampden until 2015, when she moved to Quarry Hill in Camden.

Peg adored travel, camping, the scent of the woods, art museums, dancing, dogs, gardening and entertaining. Among her many friends and former students, she is remembered for her humor, tenacity, generous curiosity, pragmatism, sensitivity and patience.

She is survived by her son Jeffrey, an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court; her daughter-in-law, Dori Harnett and her son Thomas, an executive with National Public Radio in Washington.

Those who wish to honor her memory are asked to contribute to a charitable organization of their choice.  Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Camden, longfuneralhomecamden.com.

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