Margaret Ethelyn Sherman November 8, 1921 - November 16, 2020. Essie was born ninety nine years ago in Madison Maine. She was raised with five siblings in the midst of a large extended family. They gathered often to make music, share food and stories.
Once graduated from Madison Maine High School, Essie moved to Boston where she earned her RN from Boston City Hospital School of Nursing. Essie had many stories from her nursing career. She remembered the discovery of penicillin and the crisis of the polio epidemic. During World War II Essie was a first lieutenant in the Army. She served as a nurse in a “mash “ style hospital on Leyte in the Philippines.
After the war, Essie earned a BS degree from Boston University. Then, while working a night shift in the emergency room at Boston City, Essie met her husband Bob. Bob was a newspaper reporter. That night he was covering a murder for the Boston Post. Essie and Bob were married in 1951 and together they raised chickens, a goat and five children.
Essie put nursing on hold for a while as she focused on kids and community. Always a joiner, Essie became an active member of her church’s women’s club. At home she canned and froze the harvest from a big family garden. Her home was often full of neighborhood kids, nieces and nephews, her own kids and swirling activity. Many can tell stories of recipes she taught them to cook, or projects she helped them with. She was always the anchor in the storm. Meanwhile, Essie was exploring her creative side. She became a very competent seamstress. First Communion dresses, Easter dresses, and later, wedding dresses (did she make yours?) were all among her creations.
Once her children had all reached school age, Essie returned to nursing. She worked for many years at the VA Hospital in Bedford MA.
In the mid 1980’s when retirement rolled around, Bob wanted to move to Maine. Essie wasn’t so sure, but she agreed. Before long, she embraced her new life and the community of Corea. In retirement, Essie’s interests really blossomed. You may have known her through quilting or rug hooking. Perhaps she taught you to make a paper hat or a basket? And of course there was bird carving. Essie made bagged lunches for the Schoodic Arts Festival and desserts for the coffeehouse events. She played in the Schoodic Steel band. Through it all, it was the time spent with friends that was most important. Meanwhile, always our “Head Nurse”, Essie listened and offered support and care to friends and neighbors who needed a little help after a cancer diagnosis or some other illness.
When the need for assisted living came along, it was with sadness that Essie and Bob left Corea and moved to Tall Pines in Belfast Maine. As always though, Essie took on the challenge. She cared for Bob in his final days and also made friends with other residents and staff, getting the scoop (as she did) on their lives and families. She took charge of the little community garden where she grew flowers and tomatoes. Essie stayed informed and open minded. Always trying to help other people along, she became president of the Resident’s Council and was the force behind establishing a nursing school scholarship for local high school students. And still the sewing continued! Essie hemmed pants and prom dresses and mended sweaters for her new friends. Our “Head Nurse” had moved on to become the “Queen of Alterations”. In June of 2019, needing a little more help, Essie moved to Massachusetts to live with her youngest daughter Trisha and her family. Another change, but Essie adapted.
Back in the midst of extended family and fun, she went to cookouts and college basketball games.
This year, when COVID came along Essie’s youngest granddaughter was suddenly home from college. Sometimes big disasters bring little blessings. Together Essie and Maya learned tik-tok dances and fist pumps, played games, watched movies and sat on the deck in the sun watching the birds.
Essie passed peacefully in her sleep on November sixteenth just a week after her ninety ninth birthday.
She leaves behind her family, the cardinals at her birdfeeder, and everyone who was fortunate enough to know her generous spirit. If you were a friend, rest assured that she thought of you often.
Services for Essie were privately held with her Funeral Mass on Saturday morning at St. Mary's Church, Georgetown then her burial at Harmony Cemetery, Georgetown. For those who wish to share a memory of Essie with her family, please visit www.cgfuneralhomegeorgetown.com
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