Obituary for E.H. Marcelle Coffin
ORONO and SURRY - E.H. Marcelle Coffin, 91, of Orono and Surry, died peacefully at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor on January 25, 2018. She was born on August 27, 1926, the daughter of Stanley M. and Germaine M. (Cabaud) MacDonald, of Coughlan, New Brunswick, Canada. She grew up along the Miramichi River and was a lifelong Canadian citizen.
As a child in New Brunswick, Marcelle picked blueberries for 3¢ per quart; one summer, she hand-picked 400 quarts and earned $12, counting it over and over again. After graduating from Blackville High School, she moved to Bangor in 1945 to study at the Eastern Maine General Hospital School of Nursing. After earning an R.N. in 1948, she worked on Ward K and in surgery, eventually as operating room supervisor. In 1952, Marcelle married Millard F. Coffin Jr., a native of Bangor, Maine, and became a homemaker, devoted mother, and volunteer. The family spent the school year in Bangor and Greenville, Maine, and the summer in Surry, Maine. As a result of volunteer work with the Junior League, Marcelle became a substitute elementary teacher in Bangor from the late 1960s until the early 1970s.
Following her husband Millard’s premature death in 1973, Marcelle became immersed in managing his commercial real estate, liquidating his business Coffin & Wimple, Inc., and overseeing his investments. That led to classes in bookkeeping, real estate valuation, real estate law, management, investments, computers, and estate planning. For pleasure, she took classes in art appreciation, marine biology, and Coast Guard navigation.
Although Marcelle’s family always came first, over the years she was actively engaged in the community and undertook considerable volunteer work. She was active in the Junior League of Bangor, Chapter A of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), the Quipus Club, the Athene Club, auxiliaries of the Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) and St. Joseph Hospital, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Penobscot Theater, Maine Discovery Museum, University of Maine Patrons of the Arts, Collins Center for the Arts, Gilley Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Friends of Maine Hockey, Downeast Friends of The Jackson Laboratory, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Eastern Maine Healthcare, Bangor Historical Society, Isaac Farrar Mansion, Bangor-Brewer YMCA, Board of Resident Activities of Phillips-Strickland House, Surry Garden Club, Abenaki Yacht Club, and the Surry Community Improvement Association. For many years Marcelle volunteered in the Eastern Maine Medical Center gift shop and did medical histories for Red Cross blood donations. She was active in Brownies and Cub Scouts when her children Cheryl and Mike were young.
Marcelle had diverse and broad interests. Her hobbies included traveling, whitewater rafting, windjammer cruising, sailing, bareboat chartering, gliding, hot air ballooning, hiking (she climbed Mt. Katahdin for the first time just before she turned 65), beachcombing, berry picking, sightseeing, reading, puffin and whale watching, fiddleheading, college hockey, crossword puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles. She enjoyed the arts, including dance, music, theater, museums, galleries, and associated lectures. Her crafts activities encompassed counted cross stitch, crewel, needlepoint, bargello, knitting, bread making, and cooking in general. A love of travel began with Marcelle’s move from Blackville, New Brunswick, Canada, to Bangor, Maine, in 1945. In 1950, she accompanied her mother to France and Italy for three months, sailing from Québec City to Le Havre and back aboard the RMS Samaria. After she married Millard, they visited the Bahamas, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, and with Cheryl and Mike they made multiple visits to St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands), New Brunswick, and Québec, and traveled to Spain and Algeria. As a widow, Marcelle’s curiosity, spirit of adventure, and fascination with other cultures led her to visit more than 60 countries and all seven continents between 1974 and 2017. Highlights of her globetrotting were trips to many parts of the United States and Canada, Aruba, Venezuela, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Russia, Egypt, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Greece, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, China, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Chile, Antarctica, Argentina, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Algeria.
Marcelle was pre-deceased by her mother, Germaine M. Cabaud, a native of Equevillon (Jura), France, in 1990; her father, Stanley M. MacDonald, a native of Gray Rapids, New Brunswick, in 1957; her sister, Marjorie Letourneau, in 1999; her sister Patricia MacDonald, in 1944; and her husband Millard F. Coffin, Jr., in 1973. She is survived by her daughter, Cheryl M. Coffin, M.D., and her husband, Ralph E. Topham, of Surry, Maine, and her son, Millard (Mike) F. Coffin III, Ph.D., of Brewer and Surry, Maine, and Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Other survivors include nephews Robert and Gary Letourneau, and nieces Patricia Mainguy, Elizabeth Bélanger, and Lorraine Letourneau, and their families, all of Québec City, Canada; nieces Constance Carter and Lorna Grenfell of Orono, Maine, and their families; niece Pamela Smith of Bloomington, Indiana, and her family; nephew John Grenfell of West Springfield, Massachusetts, and his family
Cheryl and Mike sincerely thank William R. Wood, M.D. and the staff of St. Joseph’s Internal Medicine and St. Joseph’s Hospital for providing excellent and conscientious care for their mother over many years. They are grateful to Marcelle’s many friends and especially those who helped support her after her mobility and world diminished following her move to Dirigo Pines from Bangor in 2008.
All are welcome to attend funeral services for Marcelle 10:30am Saturday, February 3, 2018 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 225 French Street, Bangor, with the Rev. Marguerite A.H. Steadman, rector, officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments in the church undercroft following the service. A celebration of Marcelle’s life will be planned for Summer, 2018, in Surry. Those who wish to remember Marcelle in a special way may make gifts in her memory to the University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792, for the E.H. Marcelle Coffin Men’s Ice Hockey Fund, or the E.H. Marcelle Coffin University of Maine Museum of Art Endowment Fund. Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com.