- Jean Elizabeth Gardyne Webster, 92, passed away peacefully on March 14, 2017 at Parker Ridge, Blue Hill, ME, with family and friends at her side. Jean was born at home on June 6, 1924 in North Troy, VT, to Nellie Marion (Rice) and Harvey R. Gardyne, the third of four children. During the Depression, her father worked steadily as supervisor at the Blair Veneer Mill and so her family of six squeaked by with a little less hardship than many. Jean watched as her father passed on a few dollars to out-of-work neighbors to tide them over and did not forget his quiet example.
She graduated from Green Mountain College with a Secretarial Science degree in 1944, a campus with more women than men due to the war. After college, she left her small town for the big city of Boston, and joined the post-war work-force. When she needed a ride home one Christmas, a friend gave her the number of another Boston-area Vermonter heading north. That long car ride introduced her to Karl Webster, her future husband, who had grown up down the road in Orleans.
Jean and Karl started out their married life in a Spartan trailer in State College, PA, where Karl was getting his Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. They set up homes after that in Durham, NH, Wolfeboro, NH, York Harbor, ME and Orono, ME, before retiring in 1990 to their land in West Brooksville, ME. Jean and Karl shared a love of sailing and wooden boats, and they spent many days cruising around Penobscot Bay on the Monday and then the Tuesday with their family and friends. Together they built their cabin overlooking the Bagaduce River in the late 1960s, and later their retirement home in the same location.
Jean was forever grateful for the Works Progress Administration's decision to build a tennis court in her small town where she taught herself to play and began her life-long passion for this game. Tennis (as well as cribbage, crosswords and Scrabble!) brought out her friendly but fierce competitive spirit, and she considered Billie Jean King to be her role model. Jean was proud of every trophy and although she didn't think her game was flashy, she prided herself on being a solid and consistent doubles partner. She organized years of tennis clinics at summer camps and town courts and taught crowds of kids who loved her approach to learning the game. Jean was honored by Green Mountain's invitation to join the College's Athletic Hall of Fame, and she was so happy to watch her grandsons pick up rackets and continue Gamma's legacy.
Jean had Type O blood, one of the universal donor types. Throughout her life she lived according to that philosophy, donating her time to help out in whatever way she could: driving people to appointments, running the Surplus Food program, serving on town committees, dropping off meals, listening over a cup of tea and scones, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and sending notes and prayers to friends in their time of sorrow and small checks in support of their dreams. Her whole-hearted kindness, generosity and counsel will be remembered by many.
She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Karl S. Webster, Jr., Laconia, NH, daughter, Susan Webster (Bruce Fowler), Portland, ME, daughter Anne Webster, San Luis Obispo, CA, grandsons Samson Fowler and Liam Fowler, Portland, ME, and her extended family in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida and California.
Her family would like to acknowledge Jean's circle of community on and off the peninsula and at Parker Ridge, all of whom surrounded Jean with friendship, love, care, kindness and support. A service in celebration of Jean's life will be held in Blue Hill in the summer of 2017. As she requested, her ashes will reside at Pleasant View Cemetery, Orleans, VT. To honor Jean, please consider making a donation in her name to: Nichols Day Camp, Blue Hill, and/or The Tree of Life Food Pantry, Blue Hill.
Published on  April 6, 2017