SKOWHEGAN - Thelma Maravene Watson Gilman died at her home on Sunday, March 30, 2014, after a short illness. Maravene, as she preferred to be called, was born in Brooks, January 12, 1921, the oldest child of Charles Henry and Thelma Berle Spaulding Watson.
The family moved two years later to Skowhegan. Maravene lived in Skowhegan for the remainder of her life, attending local public schools and graduating in 1939 from Skowhegan High School and Bloomfield Academy and later from Skowhegan Business School. She worked for her father at Spaulding and Watson Grain Company for several years as a bookkeeper. On July 12, 1947, she married Robert Carl Gilman of Norridgewock, and they settled into their permanent home in Skowhegan. Maravene and Bob purchased the Brooks Savage Range Oil Company from the late senator's widow in 1951, combining it with the purchase of the C.M. Holt Company in 1958, under the name Robert C. Gilman Oil, later to become Gilman Oil Company, Incorporated. Maravene served as co-owner/operator and treasurer until their retirement and sale of the business in 1978. Maravene was a member and leader of many civic organizations including the Skowhegan Women's Club (past vice-president), the Skowhegan Business and Professional Women's Club (past president), the Redington-Fairview General Hospital Auxiliary (past president), the Women's Legislative Council of Maine (past treasurer), the Women's Aid (past secretary) as well as chairwoman of many of the organization's committees. She was also affiliated with the Skowhegan Federated Church, serving on the Board of Deaconesses. Maravene loved animals and was well known in the area during her younger adult life for riding the streets of Skowhegan on her much-loved mare, Dixie. She and Dixie spent many a Skowhegan Fair week serving as the marshaling team for the horse races. Family and friends enjoyed hearing her many stories of her younger years in Skowhegan. She enjoyed visiting with friends and family at home and at camp in Smithfield, and particularly loved traveling with her sister, riding with her brother in his antique cars and celebrating holidays and birthdays in Belfast with her family.
Maravene was predeceased by her parents, husband and grandson, Evan Morse. She is survived by her son, Darrell R. Gilman and his wife, Mary, of Belfast, sister, Hazel K. Grove of Smithfield, brother, Dale S. Watson and partner, Nancy Moll, of Skowhegan; grandsons, Cory Morse and wife, Jill, of Belfast and Ryan Morse and partner, Ashley Montgomery, of Wilton; granddaughter-in-law, Kimberlee Ongaro and husband, Taylor, of Rockport; great-grandchildren, Aisling, Skyler, Bellamy and Joseph Morse and Theodore Ongaro; much-loved nephews and nieces and their families, Ray Wenninger and wife Sue, Dale Wenninger and wife, Peggy, Rick Watson and wife, Karie, Jane Davis and husband, Donald, Carl Grove and wife, Lauren, Nathan Grove and wife, Yvonne and Dawn O'Brien and husband, Bruce. Also, very important to Maravene in the last year, has been her companion and caregiver, Joey Preble. The family thanks Joey and the many caregivers from Care and Comfort for helping her to remain in her own home; a special thank you to Dr. Loraine Paradis for her commitment and caring; and the staff of Home Health Hospice along with Joey and sister, Hazel for their loving care during the last days.
A family graveside service will take place in the spring in Skowhegan. In lieu of flowers, Maravene requested that donations be made to either of two organizations: the Skowhegan Women's Aid Society, in care of Ms. Jodi Michaud, Treasurer, 79 Fairview Avenue, Skowhegan, ME 04976, or the Somerset Humane Society, P.O. Box 453, Skowhegan, ME 04976. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home, 9 Mountain St., Camden. Condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Gilman family by visiting their book of memories at www.longfuneralhomecamden.