Franklin Countys First News

Anne C. Geller, 72

Anne Carol Cohen Geller

Anne Carol Cohen Geller of Farmington passed away May 25, 2019 at the age of 72.

Anne and her husband, Bill, and young children, Jennifer and Sarah, moved to Farmington in November 1977. In the past 42 years she played her flute with the UMF orchestra for every year in which it functioned; taught flute lessons privately and for a number of years in the SAD#9 schools; taught Spanish at UMF to fill in for professors on leave, wrote a weekly arts column for the Franklin Journal; directed and financially supported for 20 years Foothills Arts, an organization she started; and was active in the Democratic Party of Franklin County serving for eight yeas as its chairperson.

Emblematic of Anne’s life was a desire to help with the needs of others. As a child in the mid 1950’s she ran a little children’s carnival in her parents yard. She gave all the money to CARE and has given to CARE every year since. That same spirit continued. The SAD#9 Strings Program was her idea and initiative; a program that was purposely designed to give every student an opportunity to play. She founded Foothills Arts and its summer and school year programs for which she and some others provided scholarships for the children of Franklin County who could not afford such participation. She loved seeing those children, now adults, some with their own children, many of whom she remembered; their comments on their experiences with her as they passed on the street always moved her.

After closing Foothills Arts she made a trip to Ecuador and during that visit she thought maybe she could realize another dream – take her children’s arts program and deliver them in a poor rural Spanish speaking community. She made her own contacts and delivered school and after school programs in Yambiro, Ecuador, on a mountain at 9,000 feet. Some years she was there delivering a month long program for which she supplied everything that was needed. She ran her last children’s arts after school program there in March 2019. In addition to the arts, she provided funding of young people’s college education, and paid for medical needs of some individuals, children and adults, so they could have productive lives.

Up to the last two weeks of her life, Anne continued her life time routines at the UMF health and fitness center, gardening, traveling to Spain, playing with her grand children, teaching and playing flute, being involved in politics, and working with the adults and children of Yambiro.

Her traditional Jewish funeral will be a graveside side service in Portland, Maine, May 30 at 11 a.m. at Temple Beth El Memorial Park, 1 Johnson Road, Portland. Following the service participants are invited to gather for food and conversation at the Woodfords Club, 179 Woodfords Street, Portland.

Annie had a second dream, which was to be able to see and hear from her friends in some type of gathering before she died. With that in mind, we open the doors of the home she loved, 108 Orchard Street, Farmington, Friday, May 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for those who would like to stop by to see what she created and loved.

Messages can be sent to Bill Geller, 108 Orchard Street, Farmington, ME 04938. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to a scholarship fund based in Otavalo and Yambiro and sent to Bill. Ecuador has no mail system, banking is complicated, and contributions are not tax deductible.

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36 Responses »

  1. Dear Bill, Sarah, Jennifer, and family. So sorry to hear of Anne’s passing. Everything in our orchestra program can be traced back to Anne’s initiative in getting Nancy Beacham to start our current and thriving orchestra program in our schools. Imagine how many students have been able to experience music because of her. Her indefatigable passion and work in bringing the arts to students is amazing. I’m forever grateful.

  2. Anne was a remarkably talented, caring, sharing person. She will be missed by all who the privilege of meeting or knowing her. Sincere condolences to the family!

  3. Heartfelt Sympathy to Bill, Jennifer, Sarah & Family. Anne was an extraordinary asset to the Farmington community and to children & families world wide. Along with her lovely warm smile, Anne was a very talented, kind & gentle person that radiated goodness & kindness as well as an appreciation and love of music & the arts. My thoughts are with you.

  4. Dr. Gelled,
    I am so sorry to hear of Anne’s passing. I alwaye enjoyed working with her. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. The world is a better place because she was in it. I am so sorry she has left it.

  6. Our heartfelt sympathy to Anne's family. Anne blessed our lives in numerous ways and we will miss her greatly.

  7. Anne's spirit will live on through the countless lives she has enriched - through the arts, her generosity, her own talents both in the arts and as a mother, wife, engaged community member, and dear friend. For these reasons, she in still very much here, and will continue to be.

  8. Bill and family, sending you lots of love. Anne was a wonderful part of my childhood and home and Jewish life growing up. I’m so grateful got to meet Brandon and was wearing some fabulous shoes from Ecuador to boot. Thinking of you all here in Colorado.

  9. What will Farmington do without Anne Geller?! Or how about certain hill towns in Ecuador? Or Maine’s new refugee population? Or the local poetry group? Or Nordica Auditorium at UMF? Or certain locals who have relished communicating with her in Spanish? Or her prolific backyard gardens? Or her so recently reconfigured, expanded, and accommodating house? So many bereft folks and venues, far & wide?!

    The community...no, the world!...will have to step up and fill Anne’s spaces. That will be a challenge.

    Here’s to Anne Geller, larger than life, unforgettable. May her family find solace.

  10. My thoughts are with you and your family and all my Maine friends as we process this incredible loss to our community and our hearts. Anne touched SO many lives and shaped so many of us into who we are now. She will be missed and remembered, always.

  11. Hi Bill and family,

    My sympathies are with you and your family. I will surely miss seeing Anne each day at the FRC. You both will always hold a special place in my heart.

  12. Dear Bill,
    Fourty-plus years ago...you, Anne, and your two very little girls had just moved to Farmington....dinner with us nervous UMF Home Economics seniors at the Home Management House. Remember?!
    Years later...Steve and I dropping our girls off at your home for flute and violin lessons with Anne and Sarah...greeting each other at numerous school concerts, MMYO, and other musical events.
    And then again not too very long ago, the heartfelt few minutes we spent chatting at the fitness center...you shared with me news of Anne’s health...but it was your love for her that saturated our conversation...so evident in your words and in your facial expressions and in your eyes...You shared with me your immense love for Anne... and I felt so privilege to be invited into your personal/emotional space. Thank you, Bill. You love Anne immensly, Bill...and she knows.
    During this time of loss and adjustment, may God richly bless you, and your little girls, with His comfort and peace...along with the love, support, and fellowship that your friends and family are so readily giving, and will continue to offer. You and Anne and your daughters are much loved in this village.
    With much sincerity, Steve and Cathy Decker

  13. Anne's irrepressible, persistent, and enthusiastic commitment to arts education is legendary and attested to by the countless individuals we encounter who recall their involvement with some or many of the programs she spearheaded to infuse the magic of the arts and culture in the lives of people who never imagined their own capacity for individual or collaborative creative expression. In an economically struggling region where pragmatism often considered the arts a frivolity, Anne had the vision and wisdom to ensure that anyone who wanted to discover the benefits of artistic involvement could participate. The Jukebox Jubilee musical, written using historical records of the Livermore Falls community, restored pride and insight to that community. As others have said, Anne's selfless contributions of her time, talent, and energy will leave a void that will be difficult for others to fill. Heaven will be more colorful, more musical, and richer as we mourn and celebrate her life. Rest in Peace.

  14. A surprise at least to some of us. Very sorry to hear about this. She was a phenomenal spirit in many ways and for many causes. Sympathies to Bill and the girls.

  15. I'm saddened that Anne is gone. We played in The UMF orchestra together. Her love of music and people will he missed. Let us all continue to serve her vision.

  16. I will never forget participating in Foothils Arts programs. Working with Anne at Foothils Arts Center was my all-time favorite job and I don't think anything could top it in the future. I loved her dedication to the kids, her perfectionism, and her listening ear.

  17. I'm so lost for words . Anne helped me through school. RIP ann. You will be missed

  18. Bill, thinking of you and your family.

  19. So sorry to hear of her loss. She was a vital force in our community, a creative, giving soul with wonderful talent which she shared so fully. Sad for Bill and the girls and for Franklin County.

  20. In her quiet, persistent, energetic enthusiasm Anne encouraged hundreds of us to think creatively. Her invitation to teach at Foothills in the summer of 1995 was a turning point for me. I am forever grateful for her nudge that helped facilitate a career change at that juncture in my life. (How could I have survived without Paste Paper.??). Her laughter and delight always reflected her contagious passion for creative expression. She leaves a colorful legacy in so many ways...you go girl ❤️❤️❤️
    Love and light to Bill and the girls, and all who shared her vibrant life!

  21. Bill,

    So sorry to hear of Anne's passing. My deepest sympathies.

  22. Our sincere condolences go out to Bill and the girls for their loss. Anne will be missed

  23. Bill, So very sorry for your loss. She was a lovely lady.

  24. You were my friend ....
    my colleague
    a fellow teacher
    an excellent writer
    my editor
    adventurous traveler
    generous to a fault
    a wonderful wife, parent, and grammy
    a provocateur
    a political mover and sympathizer
    an inspiration
    a discerning critic
    a port in the storm
    a community mover
    a model of courage
    We'll all miss you Annie Geller!

  25. I am so sorry to hear of Anne's passing, and amazed to read of all she accomplished in her life. What a force she was! The good she's done will live on after her.

  26. My sincerest sympathies to Bill and the Geller family. Anne was an amazing woman, teacher, musician and community member. She will be remembered with deepest love and utmost respect. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  27. What a beautiful woman and friend, leaving a lovely legacy.

  28. Dear Anne's Family. I'll remember Anne with fondness. Always such a positive thinker and kind person. I appreciate the years I taught at Foothills Art Camp with David Smith. Her positive influence will endure in the world she left behind. God bless.

  29. Anne was also the driving force behind the amazing American Composers Forum’s millennium celebration project, Continental Harmony. This project highlighted our region’s history using music and dance. San Fransico composer Alexis Alrich wrote and arranged huge community gatherings for the performances that included French-Canadian fiddlers, a 185 member chorus made up of experienced and rookie singers, a chamber orchestra, the Franklin County Fiddlers, dancing, and more. The music is still used for the “on hold” music when calling the Farmington town office, and the performances are in the documentary film “Réveil-Waking up French” by Ben Levine. Anne arranged and oversaw everything from the application, to bringing many area stakeholders in to interview composers, to the site visits and implementation, and played flute in the performances - just amazing.

  30. Dear Geller Family, my deepest sympathies for your loss...the love for her family, and her passion for music and community was apparent even to those who didn't know Anne well. Wishing you peace during this difficult time.

  31. Annie-I liked to call her-its hard to believe you've left us-it saddens me. Your determination to make the world a better place has been successful. Perhaps,on occasion-you and I didn't always see things eye to eye- but our conversations always ended with a smile or a laugh! I wish I had stepped out to speak to you on one of your walks through the downtown recently. I'll remember you fondly and your spirit will live on in all you touched. Sincere condolences to Bill, Jennifer, Sarah and families.

  32. Dear Bill and Jennifer, Sarah and Family:

    So very sorry to hear from my sister Ann and John about the loss of Ann. What a wonderful wife/mother/person. I smiled as I read this article about the many, many things she did. Our thoughts are with you as grieve her loss and honor her life and spirit over the weekend.

    John Deneen and Mario Bufo

  33. Our deeply-felt condolances to you, Bill, and to Sarah and Jennifer and families -- and to the Farmington community. Anne was a big part of all of us. John and I especially realized her wonderful personality
    with great relationships all around. She uplifted us and appreciated others' contributions. I am so happy that I was fortunate enough to play a concert with her and daughter Sarah and Pat Hayden as a fund-raiser for Foothills in the 1990's. And Amy LeBlanc's poem refers to her well-roundedness: she was a Renaissance Woman, and we will continue to feel her loss but will be inspired by her love.

  34. Dear Bill, Jennifer, Sarah, and all the Geller family,

    I did not know Anne well, but was always aware of her constant work for the arts, which means work for everybody. Now, reading all the comments above, I am absolutely amazed at her lifelong dedication and immense productivity. She deserves all the respect and admiration that we can give her.

    My condolences and prayers for the whole family.

  35. From very early in my life, I knew a friend in Anne Geller.
    As a young student participant at Foothills Arts Camp, I learned to think outside the box, think creatively, help others, craft responses unlike any other, sing, dance, play and enjoy all the arts has to offer.
    These truly memorable and unforgettable experiences helped to build me.
    Later, as an apprentice with the camp, I helped other youth enjoy the same.
    Foothills gave me opportunities and experiences unlike any other, courtesy of Anne.

    Continuing through arts, I explored writing. I find catharsis in expressing words on paper, and use my writing skills daily.
    I also continued playing cello, through high school, in the programs she began.
    I participated in community theatrical events organized by the Foothills Arts Program.
    After high school, I carried my axe onto the stage beside her in the UMF Orchestra. I enjoyed seeing her, talking with her, creating beautiful music with her, and thought very highly and fondly of her.

    While death is such an unfortunate consequence in life, the countless lives (including mine) she touched, molded, sparked, cultivated, and activated will continue to create a much greater imprint on the world, carrying her legacy.

    Peace to all her family in this difficult time of transition.

  36. "We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours." ~John of Salisbury

    Anne was a giant among us. Countless generations of young musicians will go beyond what we or they would have imagined without Anne’s commitment, investment and hard work.

    Our thoughts are with Anne’s family.

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