HALLOWELL AND FORT KENT - Penny Plourde, 61, died peacefully in her sleep on July 3, 2016. The daughter of Lucy and the Late Reginald Plourde. She was born on October 6, 1954 in East Hartford, Ct.
Penny attended Mount Merici Academy in Waterville, Maine, Fort Kent Community High School and the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She worked in the family business, Chez Plourde Shoes. She became intrigued by politics when her father ran for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives, which sparked a longtime involvement with Democratic party politics. She also ran former Gov. Joseph Brennan's gubernatorial campaign in Fort Kent region. Penny had a long career in Maine government that spanned three decades until her recent retirement. She served as a Director of the Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Labor and Director of Civil Rights and Small Business Development in the Department of Transportation.
Born with spina bifida, Penny never let her disability define her life or limit her options. She was educated in the years before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, in an era when many parents institutionalized children with disabilities. Penny was a fierce advocate for people with disabilities and a pioneer in the fight for the American with Disabilities Act. She was instrumental in legislation that would lead to making all modes of transportation accessible to people with disabilities, worked for deinstitutionalization movement, and did citizen lobbying for a host of issues, including causes that worked for the advancement of women and children in society.
Penny gave of herself by serving on numerous boards including the Children's Center in Augusta, the Maine Disability Rights Center, the Pine Tree Society, the Alpha One Independent Living Center, and Wheelchairs Unlimited. She volunteered at the Maine Veterans Home, the Maine Neighborhood Association and other civic organizations. Penny unsuccessfully made a bid for the State Senate, an experience she found highly enjoyable.
Penny is survived by her mother, Lucy Plourde of Madawaska, two sisters; Terry Plourde and her husband Richard Michaud of Dover, NH. Bonny Plourde and her husband David Tingley of Madawaska. Niece; Stephanie and her husband Steven Michaud and their children Roland and Triston. Niece; Lauren Tingley. A half-sister Doreen and her husband Paul Kulakowski of St. James City, FL.
In addition to her father Penny was predeceased by her half-niece, Marsha Kulakowski.
Penny will be dearly missed by her family and friends.
Friends may call Tuesday July 12, 2016 from 9 am until time of service at the Daigle Funeral Home, Fort Kent. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 am Tuesday at the St. Louis Catholic Church, Fort Kent. Graveside service will be at a later date in the parish cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Penny's memory may be made to the Pine Tree Camp Society, 149 Front St., Bath, Me. 04530.