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Elizabeth Hodgkins

Elizabeth Hodgkins

YARMOUTH - Elizabeth (Beth) Gamage Hodgkins of Yarmouth, who, following a long career as a public schoolteacher and homemaker, wrote the signature recipe book in Maine for using maple syrup in cooking, Maine Maple beyond Pancakes, died at home on May 7, 2019, of pancreatic cancer.

Daughter of Vernon and Wilma Gamage of Augusta, Beth attended Augusta schools and graduated from Cony High School in 1959. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Farmington State Teachers College in 1963. While attending FSTC she served on several committees and participated in many organizations. Upon graduation she was selected to appear in the 1962-1963 edition of Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges. She taught primary education in Wiscasset and Houlton schools before suspending her teaching career to raise a family.

A music lover, she played trumpet in several bands and orchestras throughout her high school and college years. She also sang in several church choirs and community choruses, including Boothbay Harbor, Houlton, Cumberland, Farmington, and Yarmouth, throughout her life.

In 1965 she married John Hodgkins, the love of her life. After a stint in Houlton, they moved to Yarmouth where she became a preeminent homemaker, always home when her children arrived there from school, insisting that the entire family be present for breakfast, dinner, and church on Sunday. During those years she served as a classroom volunteer, substitute teacher, a Cub Scout Den Mother, and a First Parish Congregational Church Sunday-school teacher, choir member, committee worker, deacon, and camp counselor at Pilgrim Lodge. When the youngest left home for college, she returned to full-time teaching, this time at Yarmouth’s Rowe School where she taught 1st grade until she retired in 1999. After retiring, she was active in the Yarmouth Health Council and the local Fortnightly Club.

Beth (and John) produced Maine maple syrup in Temple, Maine, from the time of their marriage, which inspired the recipe book, a book of maple lore, education, and recipes. She received an Honorary Life Member award from the Maine Maple Producers Association in 2009. She spoke often to groups on sugaring, or about the old tumbledown farmhouse in Temple that she and John acquired as a project and so lovingly restored over the years, or “making something out of nothing.” Frugal, Beth was well known for creating greeting cards or gifts or toys out of whatever was at hand. A common dinner floral arrangement was frequently gleaned from the woods and spaces surrounding her home in Yarmouth, the camp in Litchfield, or the farm in Temple. At John’s MDOT retirement dinner, she told the “real story behind John’s achievements,” best talk of the evening, it was said.

An outdoor lover also, she loved mountain climbs, long distance hikes, and canoe trips with John, family, and friends throughout her married life.

In later years, she traveled with John many times to new and out-of-the-way places: Eastern Siberia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Death Valley, and for their 50th wedding anniversary, North Dakota, one of a very few states she hadn’t visited. There she visited Amenia, ND, population 94, where an ancestor had moved in the 1800s, and Newman, ND, a namesake town, population 62 (her mother was a Newman). They, also traveled with church members to Safe Passage in Guatemala City, an organization that provides school enrollment for poor children whose families scavenge the
Guatemala City garbage dump to survive, to spend a week as classroom teachers.

Beth was a strong family person, visiting relatives often. She loved her three children and seven grandchildren dearly, always present at sporting events, concerts, school activities, and holidays. And she would entertain them with animal stories of her childhood (and her adulthood) on a farm, always carrying to the grandchildren her “rice krispy squares,” which they loved and yearned for, as well as her storied “outlaws” cookies.

Beth is survived by her husband of 53 years, John; daughter Bethel Stephens and husband Bob of Brentwood, New Hampshire; son Jack and wife Victoria of Park City, Utah; son Bill and spouse Joey Wyspianski of Portland; and seven dear grandchildren.

Contributions may be made in Beth’s memory to Safe Passage, 49 Farm View Drive New Gloucester, Maine 04260. The family wishes also to extend much gratitude to Hospice of Southern Maine for the care and assistance provided to both Elizabeth and John, and to the First Parish Congregational Church, as well as the many friends and neighbors throughout Yarmouth, for their generous support.

Friends and family are invited to share their memories and offer their condolences by visiting Beth’s online guestbook at www.lindquistfuneralhome.com

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm at Lindquist Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 11am at First Parish Congregational Church, 116 Main St., Yarmouth, Maine, 04096. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Lindquist Funeral Home, 1 Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth, Maine, 04096.

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7 Responses »

  1. Terry and I want to express our sincere sympathy and sense of loss to John and the Hodgkins family. We have enjoyed knowing Beth and singing in the choir with her when opportunities presented themselves. It always seems as though the people we love will be with us forever, until they are not. Our best love to John and to the family.
    When I spy a bird not often seen at my feeders, I'll think, "I should call Beth."

  2. It is with great sadness that I read of Beth's passing. Our friendship began when she volunteered in the Yarmouth School Volunteer Program in the 1960's; as the new coordinator, I was learning as I went and Beth's thoughfulness and helpfulness was greatly appreciated. Over the years the ladies of the Temple Historical Society and I have enjoyed Beth's trips to "the farm" where she shared her blueberry muffins and coffee, and she and John have supported our work in revisiting Temple's history. She was a lady who was loved by many and will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to John and their children; may you be blessed with wonderful memories of Beth.

  3. My sincere condolences to the Hodgkins family. May God Bless Your Family during this difficult time and always.

  4. So sorry to see this. I always enjoyed seeing Elizabeth at a friend's Christmas gathering. She had class, and I enjoyed hearing her stories. My sincere condolences to her husband and family. She was a very special person, and you were blessed to have her in your lives.

  5. Our sincere condolences to John and the Hodgkins family. We went to the farm in Temple each year during the holiday season to cut our Christmas tree . Such a pleasure to meet them both. Beth was such a very unique, kind, loving person.
    She will missed dearly. So sorry for your loss.

  6. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  7. We are so very sorry about Beth's passing. You all have our sympathy .

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