Mary's Story

ORONO - Mary K. Surprenant passed away peacefully at her home on May 10, 2016. Mary was born at home in Greenwich, CT on December 26, 1928, the youngest of three daughters born to Paul J. and Helen (Kyrklund) Kirk.

She attended elementary school in a two-room schoolhouse in Armonk, NY, and graduated from Pleasantville High School in 1946. She then attended Perry Normal School in Boston, focusing on early childhood education. She worked as a governess during her college years, which provided her with room and board as well as practical experience caring for and teaching children.

Mary married Norman F. Surprenant on June 7, 1950 in Denver, CO. She worked as a volunteer at an orphanage for a year in Denver. After moving to Newton, MA, Mary worked as a teacher in the children's nursery at Boston Floating Hospital. They moved to Littleton, MA in 1956.

Mary returned to college and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Suffolk University in 1967 with a degree in elementary education. She was a teacher for Westford public schools from 1971 to 1992, teaching first grade and fourth grade before settling into a second grade classroom in the Robinson School. She loved teaching and encouraged a love of literature and learning in all the children that she knew.

Mary enjoyed her retirement on Casco Bay in Portland, ME for ten years before moving to Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono, ME.

Mary was an excellent cook and seamstress, and made slipcovers and clothes, including smocked dresses for her daughters and nieces. She belonged for many years to the Littleton Garden Club and enjoyed growing and arranging flowers. She was artistic and creative, and enjoyed watercolor painting and gold-leaf stenciling. She loved classical music and jazz and especially enjoyed attending symphony performances. She was a member of the Nashoba Association for Equal Rights, donated her time to political candidates and causes, and was a delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. She had fond memories of travels in the US and Canada and of her visits to relatives in Finland and Norway. She belonged to The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Acton, and later to the First Unitarian Church in Littleton, MA and the Unitarian Church in Portland, ME. She was exceptionally proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mary is survived by three daughters: Beth Gaetz and her husband Glenn of Corinth, VT, Ann Surprenant and her husband Brian Robinson of Orono, ME, and Frances Selkirk and her husband Paul of N. Reading, MA; seven grandchildren: Glenn K. Gaetz and his wife Joanne Chang of Vancouver, BC, Joshua Gaetz and his wife Shannon of Corinth, VT, Jedidiah Gaetz and his wife Angela Aman of La Grange, IL, Joseph Gaetz of Philadelphia, John Robinson of Orono, ME, Paul Robinson of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Kylie Selkirk of N. Reading, MA; three great-grandchildren; one sister, Helen Barber of Las Vegas, NV, and several nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her parents and by one sister, Vera Hittle of Boulder, WY.

Those who wish to remember Mary in a special way may make a donation to Maine Public Broadcasting Network, 63 Texas Ave, Bangor, ME 04401 or a charity of their choice. Condolences to the family may be expressed at
Published in Bangor Daily News
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