Orono, Maine - Mary Miller Dreghorn, 87, died peacefully at home of cancer Feb. 24, 2021, with her husband Richard at her side. Mary was born June 7, 1933, in North Dighton, Mass., the only daughter of the late Earl and Evelyn (MacDonald) Ramsden.
She grew up in Taunton, Mass.; and she and Dick went to the same schools. Mary and Dick dated for a while in high school, but life took her on another path as she left to attend Boston University, where she studied music. After college, Mary married Gordon Dean, a fellow musician at BU, and then focused on raising her family of four children, first in Ohio and then in Amherst, Mass. Mary was the music teacher at Wildwood Elementary School in the 1970s. She eventually earned her master's degree and later taught music education at UMass and URI.
Mary was an educator who taught through music. She strongly believed that all the arts were important. Her elementary school students experienced music, art and movement together as they wrote and performed stunning operettas, such as adaptations of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and Anton Rubinstein's "The Demon." She also was immensely curious and enthusiastic and brought those traits into her teaching through discovery, imagination, play and creativity.
You always knew where you stood with Mary. She let you know her thoughts and opinions. Only 4 feet, 9 and 3/4 inches tall at her peak, she was always easy to locate - her voice carried through loud and clear. With her small body and huge voice, she could control an entire auditorium without the use of a microphone.
Dick and Mary reunited after both divorced. They married in 1981, and settled in North Stonington.
When she took on a project, Mary jumped in with her whole self. Why be merely a weaver when you can also raise the sheep and learn to sheer, card, dye and spin? But sheep weren't the only animals around - chickens, dogs (especially collies and English Pointers), cats, canaries, gerbils, hamsters and a rabbit made up the household at various times. She loved doing things with her hands - gardening and quilting and crafting poems, stories and books for her grandchildren. In recent years, rug hooking became her main enjoyment. She hosted a group of "hookers" who met every week at her home until the pandemic made that impossible. Her magnum opus remains unfinished, a beautiful scene of butterflies in a butterfly bush. In the time she spent on it, most people would have completed four rugs. But her desire to "get it just right" meant that butterflies were ripped out, redone and redone again.
Mary is survived by her husband Dick; six children from her blended family: Allen Dean of Byfield, Mass., Joy (Dean) O'Connor and husband Bill of Londonderry, N.H., Laurence Dean and wife Karin Hammer-Williamson of Essex, Vt., Evelyn (Dean) Casey and husband John of Westfield, Mass., Elizabeth (Dreghorn) Lynch of Taunton, Mass. and Kim (Dreghorn) Skaves and husband David of Ellsworth, Maine; her ten grandchildren: Ryan O'Connor, Hailey Stewart and husband Andrew, Justin O'Connor, Liam O'Connor, Drew Dean, Henry Dean, Matthew Skaves and wife Lexi Lowell, Alyssa Skaves and husband Tom Enkosky, Caitlin Lynch, Michael Lynch; and four great-grandchildren: Leland, Lulu, Mary and Malala.
The family sincerely thanks the staff of St. Joseph HomeCare and Hospice for the compassionate and attentive care they showed Mary. Memorial contributions may be made to the St Joseph's Hospice fund, https://www.stjoeshealing.org/support-our-mission/donate-online
, 207. 907.1000 or to The Chorus of Westerly, R.I., https://www.chorusofwesterly.org/donate-support
, 401.596.8663. Notes of condolence and memories may be shared at www.birminghamfuneralhome.com