Phyllis's Story

BUCKSPORT - Phyllis Bishop Torrey cast off and set sail on her last journey, with her family by her side on Monday, May 2, 2016.

The only child of Horace Raymond and Florence May (Snell) Bishop, Mary Phyllis Wooding Bishop was born on July 5, 1926, in Manhattan. Phyllis was educated at Northfield School in Massachusetts, had a year of nurses training at McGill University in Montreal, and attended Agnes Scott College in Georgia. She started premed studies at Duke University in North Carolina, ultimately graduating with a degree in English Literature in 1949.

Phyllis married Guy M. Johnson in 1949. They had three daughters, Rosamond, Lesley and Faith. While living in Buffalo, New York, they often summered at her parents' home on Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor. In 1965, she and her daughters moved from Buffalo to Winter Harbor permanently.

In 1969, she married Douglas L. Torrey. Although they lived and worked in Winter Harbor, in 1968 they began to spend time at Criehaven (Ragged Island) during the summer months. They purchased a 42 foot schooner, which they sailed down the Atlantic coast to the Bahamas then back to Maine. For 46 years, being at Criehaven was her heart's delight; she considered it her real home. In later years, when catching a boat became more challenging, family and friends accompanied her as she traveled by plane to the island. She was last there in September 2015.

She first visited Maine as a young girl, later on working summers at a Boothbay Harbor resort. While her girls were growing up she worked at schools in Buffalo and the Winter Harbor area. During her travels she worked at resorts and National Parks in Maine, Florida, and across the Southwest. She worked at marinas, boatyards and crewed on sail boats from Maine to the Caribbean. She traveled in Europe in the early seventies and midnineties. In a transatlantic crossing, she and a friend from Criehaven sailed from the Canary Islands to Virginia. She lived in Winter Harbor intermittently until the midnineties when she moved to Bucksport to be closer to her daughters.

Her love of world travel, curiosity about other cultures, nature, the weather, environmental causes, and all things nautical enriched her life. She was an avid reader, and reread her favorites books often. Spending time with family and friends was important to her. She thoroughly enjoyed the company of cats her whole life.

Phyllis will be missed by her many friends and loving family, Rosamond Johnson (John Atkinson) of Orland, Lesley Johnson of East Orland, and Faith Johnson-Carr (Peter Carr) of Bucksport, and her grandchildren, Jennifer Krichels, Lily Krichels, Michael Carr and Eleanor Carr.

A celebration of Phyllis's life will take place this summer. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in her memory to the Bucksport Animal Shelter, c/o Town Office, 50 Main St., P.O. Drawer X, Bucksport, ME 04416, or the Criehaven Emergency Service Fund, c/o Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, 245 Camden Street, Rockland Maine 04841. Arrangements are under the care of Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home and Cremation Services Bucksport. (
Published in Bangor Daily News
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