Anne C. Booth

Nov 10, 2020
Nancy Booth

Newcastle — Anne Curtis “Nancy” Booth died peacefully at home in Newcastle on the evening of Nov. 3, 2020, after a brief bout with pneumonia, in the company of nephew Steve Booth and her usual caregivers.

Born at home May 18, 1922, in Wrightstown, Penn., she was the fourth of six children born to The Reverend Samuel Babcock Booth and Anna Peck Booth. They moved to Burlington, Vt., in 1925, where Rev. Booth was called to serve as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont until 1935. Both in Pennsylvania and in Vermont, Nancy and her siblings were home schooled and could roam freely and learned to love the outdoors.

Her father died of pneumonia in June 1935, leaving Nancy, then 13, her mother and three siblings with no house, a very small pension and no plan. They stayed in Burlington for about a year, then stayed with or near friends and relatives for another two years.

Nancy attended Peterborough (N.H.) High School, St. John the Baptist School (Mendham, N.J.), and graduated in 1940 from Lincoln Academy in Newcastle after her mother bought “Grey Rock,” a house in Newcastle that was to be the family’s home base for more than 40 years.

After high school, Nancy started training as a teacher at the Lesley School in Cambridge, Mass., and graduated from Teachers’ College at Columbia University in 1945.

Nancy’s first teaching job was in Golden, Colo., where she fell in love with mountains. She returned to Columbia to get a Masters degree, and went on to teach in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.

She started attending Friends Meeting in Massachusetts, and it would be an ongoing affiliation for the rest of her life. She returned to Maine when her sister, Ellen, died unexpectedly in January 1963. She became a Teaching Principal at Franklin Elementary School in Newcastle, now the Franklin School Apartments.

The Midcoast Friends Meeting was a group she helped to start, and it became a vital connection point for Nancy. With friends from that group, she started an arts program called “Treasure Hunt” that brought art, music and theater together to schools in the area, with Nancy heading the art effort. This program, funded by a federal grant for three years, was then picked up by the towns and became Volunteer Teachers Resource Center. This was a program that she loved.

Nancy was a member of the Sierra Club and a life member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. She had an opportunity to climb the Matterhorn when she was 50 and grabbed it with gusto.

Locally, she was active in politics and supported issues such as peace and “no nukes.” She was an early organizer and volunteer at the Ecumenical Food Pantry, People to People (free clothing exchange) and CHIP (helping people keep houses safe, warm and dry), supported animal shelters, public radio and was a frequent hiker on conservation land all over the Mid-Coast region and throughout New England.

Nancy is survived by her younger sister Madeleine Booth Sweet of Falmouth, 10 nieces and nephews, children of her brother Robert, sister Katherine and sister Madeleine; 18 grand-nieces and nephews; and many great-grand nieces and nephews.

Her nieces and nephews remember childhood visits with Aunt Nan as special events —unexpected and unusual projects or adventures were the norm. She took us on the Swan Boats in Boston, rowboat picnics on Damariscotta Lake, hikes and camping trips all over New England and taught many of us to ski.

The next generation remembers her as very sweet and kind, sending notes and birthday cards until quite recently, and as unpredictable, a little crazy in a good way and always taking them on walks with her dog.

In addition to family, she leaves many good friends at the Midcoast Friends Meeting, who remember her as a tireless volunteer, able to outclimb hikers 20 years her junior, able to connect with strangers quickly and easily, and as an inspiring mentor. She was certainly a big part of many lives with her indomitable spirit, generosity, and ongoing quest for the next trip or good time. She will be missed very much by those who knew and loved her.

There will be a virtual memorial service at Midcoast Friends Meeting. Check their website (midcoastfriendsmeeting.org) for details, which will be posted when they are known.

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