Janet's Story

SWANVILLE - Janet Spaulding, beloved wife of the late Rev. Willis Perry Spaulding, passed away after a period of declining health on Monday, February 29, 2016. The daughter of Mervin F. Erma Johnson Brown, she was born on January 14, 1926, in Arlington, Massachusetts, where she grew up, spending summers at her family's cottage at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center on Lake Winnipesaukee. She married Willis on June 28, 1944, and they began their Christian ministry in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Janet was musically gifted, playing trombone, cello, piano, and organ in many venues throughout her life; she played with Arthur Fiedler in the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra as a young teenager, on the radio during WW II, and in schools and churches. As a pastor's wife and educator, Janet served in many churches and schools over the course of her life, including Kennebunkport, Belfast, Stockton Springs, Rockland, and Thorndike, Maine; Ipswich, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island, and Aurora, Illinois. On the piano or organ, she could play any hymn with flourish and was known by others in the church as "master of the three octave run".

Janet's love of children and teaching was a family trait. As a child during the Depression, she assisted her mother in operating the Paul Revere School in their home, and as a young mother, she operated a nursery school in Riverside, RI. She attended Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) and Gordon College (Wenham, MA), obtaining degrees in education and sociology from the University of Maine, Orono. Janet served in public schools as teach of children and adults, principal, literacy supervisor, and supervisor of student teachers at the University of Maine. With the support of Willis, Janet operated a summer enrichment program for children at her Creative Learning Center, located at Lakeview Farm, their home in Swanville, Maine, and provided a country setting for summer Christian education.

Janet's gifts and generous spirit have blessed many lives. Those whom she mentored in discipleship, music, and education treasure the memory of her love, energy, and daily commitment to be a blessing to others. Her legacy of love for children and for teaching will endure in the lives of family members and friends whose lives she touched.

Janet was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, her parents, brother, Austin; and sister, Phyllis. She is survived by her five children, all of whom live in Maine: Carolyn S. Brown of Wells, Cynthia S. Rodgers of Saco, Beverly S. Kafkas of Gorham, Willis, Jr. of Swanville, and Betheny S. Moseley of Buxton. She is loved and revered by their spouses and her twenty-one grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren.

A memorial service celebrating Janet's life will be held on Sunday, March 20, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 95 High Street, Belfast, Maine. In lieu of flowers, charitable gifts in her memory may be given to the First Baptist Church or to World Vision (1-888-511-6519, source doe 310-037-36), through which Mrs. Spaulding supported world missions for more than fifty-five years.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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