Maine’s elderly lose a fierce champion
Longtime Damariscotta Mills resident Mollie H. Baldwin, a wife, mother, grandmother, and nurse died March 17, 2020, at age 75 from advanced ovarian cancer. She was a dedicated public servant in her field for over 40 years, caring for the elderly and disabled of Maine and advocating for services to support aging at home.
Born in Hazelton, Pa., Mollie graduated from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing in 1966. She came to Maine to work as the on-site nurse at Camp Kieve in the summer of 1970. While spending the summer on Damariscotta Lake, she met and eventually married Alan Baldwin of Boonton, N.J., a fellow Kieve counselor. The two moved to Damariscotta Mills and built a life together, with two daughters, many cats, and a vibrant, supportive community network.
Mollie will be remembered most for her tenacity, selflessness, and dedication to helping others. In the community, Mollie served on the Damariscotta Arts Council for several years in the 1980s, coordinating fundraising events to support local arts initiatives. Later, her belief in the value of exceptional secondary education for children in Lincoln County led to a 10-year post with the Lincoln Academy Board of Trustees from 1986-1996. She held the role of Board President from 1993-1995. Always, she worked behind the scenes providing meals and nursing care to friends and neighbors in need.
Just weeks before her passing, Mollie spoke at a press conference in Augusta urging Maine lawmakers to address the decreasing home care workforce in Maine and improve reimbursement rates for home care services. On April 1, Gov. Mills and the Commissioner of DHHS accelerated the pay increase for personal care workers and committed $32 million in federal and state funding to the effort. This posthumous victory was another in a long history of success in Mollie’s career including: completing a fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on balancing long-term care, working in state government at the Office of Elder Services for nearly 20 years, leading the Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine, and receiving both the Maine Council on Aging’s Ruby Slipper Award (2015) and their Lasting Legacy Award (2019).
She retired in June 2019 from her 12-year tenure as CEO of Home Care of Maine, perhaps her proudest accomplishment. Even after retirement, Mollie’s passion and dedication continued as she educated doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who provided care during her own illness about the importance of home care and the need for legislation action.
Mollie is survived by her husband Alan; her daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth; her grandchildren, Augustus and Eloise; her sister-in-law, Joann Huntzinger; and her grandniece, Maddy Adams.
A memorial service to celebrate Mollie’s life and have “one hell of a party” as she requested will be held when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted and gatherings of 10 or more people are possible.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to either: Kieve Wavus Education, Baldwin Arts Center, PO Box 169, Nobleboro, ME 04555 (online: kwe.org/give/); or Monhegan Museum of Art & History, 1 Lighthouse Hill, Monhegan, ME 04852 (online: monheganmuseum.org/ways-to-give).