Jean Meredith (Bordo) Lawrence, 83, of Waldoboro, passed away peacefully on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. A direct Mayflower descendant of Richard Warren, Jean was born on March 28, 1939, to parents Frank N. and Harriet O. (Barker) Bordo.
Jean’s life was one of great love and devotion for her husband, David, with whom she was married for nearly 63 years. The love shared between them both extended to their sons, grandsons, close-knit family members, and friends.
Jean was a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she earned her undergraduate degree in secondary education. In 1989 she earned a Master of Arts degree in educational leadership. She dedicated 41 years to her profession. Her love of teaching began as a child when she would round up kids in her neighborhood to play school. Jean taught English in Wickford, R.I., and in the Midcoast Maine area, where she taught and also served as the language arts department chair at Medomak Valley High School from 1976-1998. Then while teaching at the Mid-Coast School of Technology from 1998-2007, Jean taught students from seven local high schools. She also coached and mentored fellow staff members.
Jean humbly received many professional accolades – two of which held deep personal meaning. The first was the recognition received from the New England Association of Teachers of English, and the second was the honor of receiving the Bowdoin College’s Distinguished Teacher Award. Throughout her career, she proudly spoke at countless professional meetings throughout New England and along the East Coast – a highlight being the 1983 College Board Meeting in Massachusetts where she spoke about the vital importance of the humanities in high school education. Years later, her work with students in connection with local newspaper writing was chronicled in the Harvard Review.
While professional accolades were appreciated by Jean, they paled in comparison to her love for her students. The joy and enthusiasm she exhibited when she would encounter a former student while running errands around town is best described as exuberant. She often pondered a bit while recalling names; however, she never forgot a face and possessed an uncanny and keenly accurate recollection of where the now-grown student was seated in the classroom back in the day. This would surprise and delight her former students, adding to the laughter and goodwill that was shared. She was immensely proud of every single one of her students and kindly touched the lives of several generations, young and old, in the Midcoast area. Her appreciation and appeal knew no social, emotional, or socioeconomic boundary. From Maine to Brazil, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Australia, Jean’s influence on youth education lives on in the hearts, minds, hands, and deeds of her students. Whether they be photographers, physicians, veterinarians, lawyers, teachers, fishermen, mechanics, architects, tradespeople, waitstaff, chefs, politicians, social workers, health care workers, musicians, writers, or chief executives, Jean took a personal interest in each of her students and so loved to hear accounts of their travels and experiences and smiled with adoration.
A lifelong writer and lover of literature, Jean was an accomplish author of poetry, short stories, historical sketches, as well as historical accounts of local and regional communities. Her works include contributions to the Goose River Anthology (multiple years), Richard Remembers Dutch Neck, 150 Years of History – The Waldoboro United Methodist Church, Citizens Who Heard the Call to Political Service: Waldoboro, Maine 1773-2010, Ada’s House: A Family Farm History, All Regularly Do Their Duty: 175 Years: History of the Waldoboro Fire Department. Articles published in The Lincoln County News include “Maude Clark Gay,” “Moravian Mission in Waldoboro,” and “Mayflower Barrel at German Church.” Jean was presented first prize for short story writing for three consecutive years in the State of Maine Competition – General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Maine. On many occasions Jean would write new lyrics to hymns and popular music and was a consummate toastmistress.
Jean retired in 2007 and enjoyed many volunteer activities, gardening (humorously referred to as the “Gladiola Guru”), reading, writing, sewing and researching genealogy. She often dropped everything at a moment’s notice to help inquiring families with ties to Maine and the Midcoast region trace their ancestry. She led them to local cemeteries in a quest to locate the burial sites of loved ones, sharing anecdotes and musings that entertained one and all.
A dedicated member of the community and passionate about public service, in retirement she proudly served as an officer in several volunteer organizations including president of the Waldoborough Historical Society, secretary of the Waldoboro Woman’s Club, member and secretary of the Rockland Shakespeare Society, secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Old German Church, secretary of the Friends of the Waldoboro Public Library, and the financial secretary at the Waldoboro UMC.
As a certified lay speaker in the Methodist Church, Jean filled the pulpits of local churches for over 20 years. Jean enjoyed singing in her church choir – often performing solo work as a featured vocalist. Four times a year, for over ten years, she led a Sunday worship service at The Lincoln Home in Newcastle. Jean performed countless funerals, graveside services, and tributes for loved ones, friends, and members of the community. Never at a loss for words, she was able to capture the hearts of many with her wit, experience, and gifted ability to turn a phrase. She especially enjoyed helping students craft college entrance essays and always had her red pen handy.
Jean was a proud 40-year member of Nu Chapter Delta Kappa Gamma Key Women Educators, Rockland, and served as president for two and one-half terms.
A proud member of “The Class of ‘57,” lover of country music and The Statler Brothers, Jean served as the mistress of ceremonies for the Wickford High School 55th Class of 1957 Reunion in August 2012. Held in North Kingstown, R.I., she shared her self-published personal memoir, “Growing Up in Wickford,” with each attending class member. A copy of this book is featured in the Wickford Room of the North Kingstown Public Library.
And we must not forget how much she loved her boys, Tom Brady and “The Gronk” – along with the entire New England Patriots football team! She faithfully donned her blue Brady jersey for every game and cheered her boys on with abandon!
Jean’s passion for community service, reverence for the sanctity of the human spirit, as well as a strong and everlasting faith made her a force of nature that has left us with a wonderful legacy that will never be forgotten.
Jean is predeceased by her husband, David A. Lawrence; and is survived by sister, Elaine Reilly; sons, Matthew B. Lawrence and Andrew S. Lawrence; and grandsons, Allen M. Lawrence, and Steven V. Lawrence.
Visitation will take place on Sunday, March 5, 2023 at Hall’s Funeral Home in Waldoboro between 4-7 p.m. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Waldoboro Historical Society, P.O. Box 110, Waldoboro, ME 04572 or to the North Nobleboro Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 546 Upper East Pond Road, Nobleboro, ME 04555.
Hall’s of Waldoboro has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences visit their Book of Memories at hallfuneralhomes.com.