Mitzi Joy Lichtman, obituary and updated service notice
NORTHPORT — Mitzi Joy Lichtman was born July 23, 1949, in New York and grew up in the Bronx. She came to Maine in the 1970s and stayed, to our great benefit, settling in the Belfast area. Mitzi passed away at the age of 67 on Jan. 17, 2017, amid a loving circle of friends, following a diagnosis of lung cancer and metastatic bone disease.
For 30 years, until her retirement in 2014, Mitzi was a human services caseworker for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, specializing in case management of public wards and protected persons. She put in endless hours for her clients and received a Dedicated Service Award.
Her previous jobs included driving a New York taxicab; cutting, splitting and stacking wood with her friends; and direct service work with autistic children.
Mitzi's life was full of adventure. She spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, attended City College in New York by bicycle, and loved to wear her clown costume to juggle and entertain.
Mitzi was an incredible force working tirelessly toward human rights for all, especially for the gay, lesbian and transgender community. She started Common Circle for Human Rights in Waldo County and worked on all of the Maine Won't Discriminate campaigns.
She helped start Camp Chrysalis, a camp for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, inn 1990 and continued to support and entertain families with face painting and clowning for 17 years.
Mitzi received the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance Community Service Award for outstanding work in her community.
Her prior board work included the Maine AIDS Alliance.
At the time of her passing, she was a member of the Board of Directors of SAGE Maine, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for older LGBT adults living in Maine through advocacy, education and social support.
Mitzi's activist papers have been archived at the University of Southern Maine as part of their Gay and Lesbian Collection.
Mitzi was the most loving, playful and fun human being any of us have ever known. Her presence brightened all of our lives and brought together a community of caring to help during her illness.
She loved playing and watching sports. She also loved kayaking, camping, clowning, hiking, dancing, Motown, animals, political activism, organic gardening and dark chocolate.
Mitzi's friends and relatives marched in her memory at the Women's March on Jan. 21, 2017, in many cities nationwide. She showed us that there is nothing wrong with hoping for something that seems unlikely and nearly impossible.
In addition to her many dear and devoted friends, Mitzi is survived by her much-loved sister, Janice Plung; her nephew, Benjamin Plung and his wife, Brittany, and their two children, Donovan and Bennett; her niece, Darshana Avila; her cousins, Natan Vaisman, Riva Danzig, Mindy Lichtman, Steve Sunshine and Charlie Lichtman, Burt Schall, Judy Fisher, Marc Slutsky and Marian Rosenberg; as well as other relatives around the world. She was predeceased by her sister, Kay Lichtman; and her parents, Benjamin and Charlotte.
Mitzi’s Celebration of Life will take place on Sunday, May 7, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Shrine Club in Belfast.
Those who wish may make donations in Mitzi's memory to SAGE Maine, P.O. Box 466, Hancock, ME 04640 or online at sagemaine.org.
Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home.