Helen's Story

AUBURN AND MACHIAS - Helen L. Mawhinney, 89, of Auburn, Maine passed away peacefully on April 2, 2016. She was born in Auburn on July 21, 1926 to her parents, Bancroft H. and Winifred Olfene Wallingford.

Helen grew up on the farm with her brother Otto Wallingford and with whom she first attended a one room school house on Perkins Ridge Road where her father and grandfather attended before her. During her childhood, she enjoyed a love of music, the piano and of the out-of-doors. Due to gas rationing during WWII and difficulties with daily transportation to Edward Little High School, her parents sent Helen to Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine where she attended as a boarding student. After graduating from Gould, Helen studied at the University of Maine from which she graduated in 1948 with a B.A. in Sociology. Both at Gould at then at U. Maine she developed friendships which she nurtured throughout her life. On the day of her graduation from college, Helen moved to Machias, Maine to serve as the sole representative of the Maine Child Protection Service in Washington County, a job which imparted a sense of deep responsibility and caring for others. In Machias, she caught the eye of her future husband, Fred P. Mawhinney, who she married in 1950. In later life, she served for many years as the out-patient coordinator at the Downeast Community Hospital in Machias.

Helen and her husband raised two children, Daniel Mawhinney and Jean Mawhinney now respectively of Auburn, Maine and West Palm Beach, Florida. They recall their mother's love of music, sense of duty and fun having been the beneficiaries of her playing reveille on her bugle to shake them out of bed on school mornings.

Helen with family and friends cherished countless days in all seasons at a remote family cabin on Cranberry Lake in Washington County. There she found peace canoeing, fishing, picking wild blueberries, listening to the nighty call of loons and enjoying spirited games of cribbage. It was there that she also enjoyed nightly forays of skinning dipping in the lake. She last continued the practice just two summers ago.

Mrs. Mawhinney was an intrepid traveler and spent many winters in Florida and Arizona for over two decades. She often insisted "At the drop of a hat..." on driving herself to warmer winter climates even in her 8th decade.

Helen enjoyed frequent letters and the company of her grandchildren for whom she loved to make piles of whoopie pies.

Mrs. Mawhinney is survived by her son Dan, her daughter Jean, his children Sam, Ben, Woody and Kate Mawhinney, Jean's daughters Andrea Cerbone, and Jerusha Hampe and nine great grandchildren.
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