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Ethel M. Page

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Ethel Mary Page, beloved mother, grandmother and friend, passed away on November 15, 2012 with her children at her side in Baltimore, Maryland. Over her 90 years of life, she lived every moment with care and compassion for others, and positively affected many along the way. She is survived by her brother Theodore Libbey and his wife Barbara Libbey of Chevy Chase Maryland and her four children and their spouses: Elizabeth and Charles Greenland of Baltimore, Maryland and their two sons Andy and Alex; Ellen and Paul Harasimowicz of Harvard, Massachusetts and their three sons Jeff, Craig and Reed; David and Susan Page of Ashburn, Virginia and their three sons Daniel, Stephen and Matthew; and, Glenn and Jane Page of Baltimore, Maryland and their to sons Elias and Jackson. Born in Miami Florida to Ethel Gaudilet and Captain Miles Libbey, Ethel Mary Libbey grew up in Mclean Virginia and Chevy Chase Maryland and spent memorable summers on the Patuxent River in Leonardtown Maryland when she was very young. After losing her father at age 7, she was welcomed into the loving home of foster parents Ethel and Winslow Sampson of Pittsburg Pennsylvania. Her mother later passed away when she was 11. The transitions were difficult and many as she attended 11 schools in 12 years, and successfully graduated from Straubenmuller Textile High School in New York City in 1939. She pursued higher education and graduated from Hood College in Frederick, MD in 1944 with a degree in liberal arts and passion for a career in education. At a time when many women were not encouraged to pursue careers outside of the home, she chose to further her education and received a Masters of Arts in education from University of Maryland with a focus on home economics. During this time she enjoyed making her own clothes, perfecting her culinary skills, and designing various versions of what would later serve as the idea for her dream home. In the summer of 1947, as a gesture of neighborly friendship very common at the time, she and her foster mother paid a visit to a family friend who was recovering in Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC from injuries sustained in Europe in World War II. She described it as love at first sight! She married Gardner Hastings Page, at North Community Church in Marshfield, MA in 1951 and the two moved to Canton MA where he worked in the field of insurance, both with high hopes of raising a family. However, childbearing proved far more difficult than they imagined as her doctor confirmed their worst fear that she simply could not conceive. In spite of this seemingly clear fate, she sought a number of additional opinions and she finally found an OBGYN in New York City who felt surgery was possible. A little over nine months after the surgery, their first child Elizabeth was born and 14 months after that, twins David Gardner and Ellen Winslow arrived in tandem and all attention was directed to raising small children. The family was complete four years later when Glenn, beginning what seemed a storied life. Tragedy struck on June 15th, 1963, as her beloved husband, Gar, suffered a fatal heart attack at their home in Scarsdale, NY. Devastated at the loss, Ethel made a vow to herself to press on despite the profound grief and moved her and her four young children to Marshfield MA where she would both raise the children and lead a successful career. She realized both dreams. First, as a teacher of Home Economics at Gates Middle School in Scituate MA, she spent over thirty years teaching the basics of cooking, cleaning, repairing, and functioning well in ones home. In the mid 1970s, she contributed to the transformation of the field of home economics by advocating for the inclusion of boys in the teaching of these basic but essential skills despite vocal opposition. She piloted the first classes and soon it became the accepted norm for the classes to be co-ed. She was loved and respected by many of her students, several describing how important the classes were and how nice it was to have a teacher who cared about each student. In 1970, she designed and oversaw the construction of her dream home that would fit the needs of a growing family. In designing every room, she created a warm and loving home home where she could spend time with her children. When wanderlust struck, she planned frequent family trips that exposed her children to the wide range of cultures, peoples and places around the world. She enjoyed spending time with a wide range of friends, playing bridge, golf and serving as a pillar in her church community. In retirement, she found great joy in genealogy, landscape painting, traveling to see her grandchildren, and endless reading to stay current with world events and the latest exciting novel. After her mobility became limited in 2006, she moved to an assisted living facility in Baltimore, Maryland to be closer to more of her children and grandchildren. There too, she made her presence felt, established book groups and made many friends despite her repeatedly winning the bingo games. Her kindness, power of presence, and genuine focus on helping others is her lasting legacy. Her positivity and why not? attitude has left an impression on all she has met and will feel a deep and profound sense of loss. As Ranier Maria Rilke wrote in 1924: There's a great secret of death, and perhaps its deepest connection with us is this: In taking from us a being we have loved and venerated, death does not wound us without, at the same time, lifting us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves. Services were held at North Community Church in Marshfield, MA on Saturday November 24th at 1:00 pm. A private burial preceded the service. A reception was held following the service at the Parish Hall across the street from the Church. There were no visiting hours at her request.

Published in The Marshfield Mariner from Nov. 28 to Dec. 5, 2012
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