Mary (Coffin) Sturtevant 1937-2017

AUGUSTA - Mary Stewart Coffin Sturtevant left her body peacefully on July 10, 2017, after several years of struggling with dementia. 

Mary was born in Augusta on June 24, 1937, the daughter of Richard O. and Marion S. Coffin. Mary attended Augusta schools, graduating from Cony High School in 1955. She followed the footsteps of her mother to University of Maine at Orono where she majored in zoology and was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She graduated from the university in 1959 with a B.S. in Biology. After college, Mary worked at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for nearly 30 years as a chemist in the water lab, retiring in 1993.

She met her husband, Thomas Charles Sturtevant, while she was working with the State. Tom brought well-water samples to her lab for testing and began courting her. They married on August 25, 1962, and moved to Winthrop where they renovated an old farmhouse which they named Cranberry Rock Farm at the foot of Mt. Pisgah. There, they raised two children, Benjamin and Susannah, grew vegetables and flowers and improved the land. In 1984 they moved to downtown Winthrop and became active members of the community as they retired from the workplace.

Mary stayed busy throughout her retirement. She volunteered with many local organizations, including the Viles Arboretum, Kennebec Land Trust, Winthrop Area People for Peace, and the Charles M. Bailey Library in Winthrop. She was a lover of nature and enjoyed hiking and spending time near the ocean. She was a member of the Augusta Nature Club and Josselyn Botanical Society. From 2000-2004 Mary was a volunteer for the Maine Vernal Pool project at the Kennebec Land Trust's Besse Historic Conservation Area where she and her husband, Tom, were volunteer land stewards. She was a member of the Universalist-Unitarian Community Church of Augusta where she was baptized in 1939.

Mary was proud to be an alumna of the Nash School, the former elementary school in Augusta's Capitol Complex area. She helped organize the 100th Anniversary of the school in 1997 and worked with the the Maine State Legislature and Maine Humanities Council on recognizing the building's significance and importance. Mary served as the school's librarian while her children attended Nash.

Mary appreciated the arts and loved music. She loved to sing with Winthrop CODA Chorus and attend concerts at the University of Maine at Augusta, Colby, Bates and Bowdoin. She enjoyed books and poetry and plays at the Theatre at Monmouth. She was an active student at UMA's Senior College where she sometimes helped with teaching courses.

Additionally, Mary was a talented craftswoman. She loved to quilt, knit, crochet, needlepoint, rug hook, paint, sculpt and create Christmas ornaments. She enjoyed sewing clothing for her children and granddaughter and sewed bags for Books for Babies. Mary helped lead the 2000 - 2001 Wayne Elementary School Redwork Embroidery history project. She taught many eager students how to backstitch. She was a wonderful baker of pastries and cookies for her family and friends, and especially enjoyed making muffins, pie and cake from wild blueberries freshly picked from Mt. Pisgah.
She was politically active and attended many peace rallies with her husband and marched in Washington, D.C. in support of women's reproductive rights.

She was predeceased by her husband, Tom, in 2012, and by her younger brother, David G. Coffin, in 2009.
Mary is survived by her sister Carolyn (Coffin) Ladd, brother Richard S. Coffin and his wife, Joan McGinnes; her son, Benjamin Sturtevant, and his wife, Erin Lloyd, and granddaughter Clare J. Sturtevant; her daughter, Susannah (Sturtevant) Sanfilippo, and her husband, Francesco; and several nieces and nephews and cousins.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 22, 2017, at the Universalist-Unitarian Community Church of Augusta. Burial will be at a later date this fall.
Arrangements are in the care of Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home and Cremation Service, One Church Street, Augusta. Memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of our website at

In lieu of flowers, please donate
in Mary's memory to:
Charles M. Bailey Public Library
39 Bowdoin St. 
Winthrop, ME 04364 or:
Kennebec Land Trust
PO BOX 261
331 Main St.
Winthrop, ME 04364 or: 
Viles Arboretum
153 Hospital St.
Augusta, ME 04330