Lee- Betty (Yeomans) Pickering, 86, died May 12, 2020 in Howland, ME after living a wonderful life full of love, learning, and adventure.
Betty was born on July 7, 1933 in Danforth, ME to Ruth (Andrews) and H. Blair Yeomans during the Great Depression. She grew up as an only child on a 200-acre farm in Drew Plantation, a suburb of Wytopitlock. She attended Elementary School in a one room school house until age 13 and was “Valedictorian” of her class of three students. At age 14, she attended and lived in the girl’s dormitory at Lee Academy, a private Secondary School in Lee, ME. She graduated Salutatorian of her class in 1951. It was there, during her Freshman year, she met a handsome “local” boy, Alton Pickering. They married on her 18th Birthday in 1951, shortly after graduation, and built a home in Lee to raise their children. Betty was an avid gardener and her flowers literally stopped traffic on Route 6 which may have caused a few accidents over the years.
Betty was a proud mom. She served as Cub Scout/ Girl Scout Leader and was a member of the PTA. Betty and Alton, along with five other couples, founded Mount Jefferson Ski Area. There she watched all her children (and then grandchildren) become accomplished skiers and make memories with their friends. As a family, marvelous memories were made boating and camping on the weekends while the children were growing up and then when the grandchildren arrived. Her Holiday gatherings for family and friends were highly anticipated and filled with great food, fun activities, and a few cooking mishaps that are cherished memories for many.
In 1959, there was a job opening at the office of the Superintendent of Schools in Lee. Armed with her High School Diploma and no office skills, she hesitantly applied. To her surprise, she got the job. For 14 years, she worked at the Superintendent’s Office. She helped to put together the plans for the first elementary school district in Maine, MSAD #30 and new schools in Lee, Springfield, Wytopitlock, and Macwahoc. In the 1960’s, she administered the Head Start Program and supervised the Youth Corp Workers.
In 1974, Betty’s career changed when a High School friend asked if she would like to come work for the Ford dealership in Lincoln. For 21 years, she worked as Office Manager/Accountant for Sherwood Ford and Cole-Whitney Ford.
Betty was dedicated to her community and local schools. In 1977, she was elected as a Selectman for the Town of Lee. In the 1980’s, she was very involved with Lee Academy. She received the Panda Award, was a member of the Board of Trustees, a Director, Treasurer and in 1991 became the first woman to become President of the Board of Trustees.
Betty always had a love for travel. Whether it was a truck ride on a back road in Maine with family or a solo trip by train across Switzerland. After retirement in 1995, Betty and Alton sold their home, bought a 5th Wheel Travel Trailer and hit the road to see the United States. Betty enjoyed stopping and learning about all of the historic places in America, many of which her father had read stories to her about as a child. There were many memories made across the country stopping to visit and spending time with family, friends, and their fellow “homeless” travelers. Betty fulfilled a life long dream of becoming a writer and wrote of their travels for a local paper back in Maine, The Lincoln News.
After Alton’s death in 1999, Betty sold their home on wheels and settled into an apartment in Bangor, ME. Looking for new direction and purpose, she joined a local writer’s group. Instantly recognizing her talent, the members encouraged her to apply for an intensive residency degree program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Raising a family and having a career, had left little time to follow her dream of attending college. This was the perfect chance. She became a college girl at 66 and at the age of 70 earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2004. Her most memorable time was writing a paper and doing the research first-hand while travelling the historic Route 66 by herself.
Betty’s travel adventures continued when she met her “Special Guy”, Don Ramsey. He convinced her to come sail the high seas in the winters on his boat. Betty loved seeing the US from a different perspective on the water and continued to share her adventures through her writing.
With all the personal accomplishments Betty had in her life, what she was most of proud of were her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She loved spending time with them and making memories with them, whether it was in some far-off exotic place or at a local restaurant. Betty kept a personal journal her whole adult life and gave instructions, as a final gift, that the volumes of books can now be read by her loved ones.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and H. Blair Yeomans, and her loving husband of 48 years, Alton Pickering, and son-in-law, John Flood.
Betty is survived by her children, Dennis and Rachel Pickering, Pamela and Timothy Madore, and Darlene Flood and Bud Spaulding; grandchildren, B. Michael and Chelsea Ireland, Angela Hamilton, and Danielle Ireland; great-grandchildren, Nicholas Ireland, Christopher Ireland, Thomas Ireland, Tylie Sheffield, Tye Sheffield, and Lillian Ireland; her “Special Guy” of 16 years, Don Ramsey; her sister-in law, Nancy Lothrop; her life-long friend, Charleen Aldrich; her “bonus son”, Danny Ireland; and her cousins, Mac Andrews and Ruth Hatch; her three nieces, Elaine Carey, Deanna House, and Kathy Crise; and several great-nieces and nephews (and great-greats) who were lovingly adored by their “Aunt Betty”. Betty leaves behind many friends, and colleagues from around the world who will be forever be touched by her kindness, love, and sense of humor.
A Celebration of Life will be held later this summer with interment at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Lee.
Those who wish may donate in her memory to the charity founded by Betty’s granddaughter, Danielle, (which she was very proud of), Silent Sidekicks, PO Box 487, Lincoln, ME 04457, for their “Reader of the Pack” program. The donations will be used to purchase new books for students at the Lee Winn Elementary School and will be delivered by their therapy dogs, including Betty’s “granddog”, Morgan. Arrangements are by Lamson Funeral Home, Clay Chapel, Lincoln.