Marya Allen, obituary

Posted:  Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 9:45am
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ROCKPORT — Marya Allen passed away peacefully June 4, 2019 at the Sussman Hospice House. She was born October 6, 1930 in Philadelphia to Curtis and Dorothy Fox Allen. Her family spent summers in Camden, and after she settled in Rockport Village, was soon recognized on her daily walks with her Scotties.

Over the years she devoted her considerable energy to many causes, including for animal welfare, music and trail conservation. Most notably, for over 20 years she was a volunteer at Pen Bay Hospital. This, from an article in the Camden Herald probably written in the early 80s, describes Marya very well.

“At Pen Bay Marya Allen is a volunteer who fits into many slots. A black tag pinned to her blue smock gives her the title “Corridor Curator,” understandable once one walks through art-lined corridors, offices and rooms. After more than 2,700 volunteer hours and seven years later, Miss Allen also could be called Gardener, Bird Feeder, Escort and Quality Insurance Program Coordinator. Miss Allen had adamantly told her friend Betty Quantrell 'I'll never work in a hospital.'

"That feisty independence has not been tempered by the hospital. She says she is always getting caught 'in the cookie jar' but not intentionally. It’s just that her manner is to plunge ahead and do things that seem right – like helping a friend dig up some scrawny yews, to the horror of the maintenance crew.

"Miss Allen does not let her independence intrude on patients’ rights. As a matter of fact, she has worked to help ensure those rights. She was among volunteers who visited Maine Medical Center in 1979 to study confidential interviews and questionnaires used to determine if patients felt satisfied with their care. A similar program was adopted at Pen Bay.

Her curator job evolved through these evaluation forms. Patient complaints rolled in about pictures with relentlessly staring figures or stormy seas. 'When you are coming out of anesthesia, those waves can get you seasick.'

Miss Allen took it upon herself to do-si-do paintings to suit the patients’ tastes. Art at Pen Bay has a colorful history that includes donations of works by Andrew Wyeth, Louise Nevelson and other well-known names. Miss Allen has been responsible for hanging many of those works."

She would travel to New York and Boston to pursue her great love of opera, which she inherited from her mother. Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts and Boris Goldovsky’s intermission quizzes were near sacred to her and she liked matching his encyclopedic knowledge with hers.

Many have compared her temperament and carriage to her beloved Scottish terriers. Proud, feisty, energetic and loyal she will be well remembered for those qualities by her friends and family.

Marya is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Sonia and Bud Spalding; nieces and nephews, Curtis Spalding and his wife Jody, Anne Spalding, Andrew Spalding and his partner Casey, Barbara Spalding, Amy Spalding-Fecher and her husband Randall; and five great nieces and a great nephew.

Her family would like to thank the staff at Windward Gardens, who cared for Marya with love and affection, and appreciated her feisty independence. Deep gratitude also to the staff at Sussman Hospice House, who facilitated a comfortable transition.

There will be a private burial at Seaview Cemetery in Rockport. Memorial donations may be made to the Scottish Terrier Club of New England, P.O. Box 381, Northford, CT 06472 or Friends of The Strand Theatre, in support of the Met Opera Series, 345 Main St, Rockland ME 04841.

Memories may be shared with the family at www.directcremationofmaine.com .