Mabel Doughty

mabelMabel Estelle Knowles Doughty, 93, died peacefully on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at the Commons. She will be remembered for a lifetime of commitment and generosity to family, friends, and community, as well as for her intelligence, strength, energy, compassion, loyalty, and wit.

Mabel E. Knowles was born on May 1, 1922 in Shirley Mills, Maine, one of four children of Arthur Knowles and Gertrude (Phillips) Knowles. After her mother died in 1929, Mabel lived with her grandmother Flora Allen for several years. Throughout her life, Mabel spoke fondly of her hometown, particularly of Shirley Grammar School and Greenville High School, where she played basketball and graduated in 1939.

After high school, Mabel moved to Boston to attend the YWCA School of Domestic Science. There, she met classmate Helen Lord, who became a lifelong friend and “partner-in-crime.” Over the next few years, Mabel and Helen shared an apartment on Beacon Hill, and Mabel worked at the Salmagundi Restaurant. It was also during this time that Mabel first visited Chebeague Island, the place that would become her home for close to seventy-five years.

In the summer of 1940, Mabel took a job at Camp West Winds on Chebeague, where she planned and provided meals to campers and staff. Mabel soon met island fisherman Sanford Doughty. They married in 1943, and their daughter Jacqueline was born that December. Mabel continued working at the camp during summers throughout the 1940s and 1950s, often taking Jackie with her. The camp’s founders, Ján and Marian Friis, also became lifelong friends to Mabel and her family.

In the late 1960s, Mabel convinced Sanford to let her accompany him on fishing trips aboard the Sirius in Penobscot Bay. Mabel fished with Sanford for years, and called these experiences — as Sanford’s first mate — the happiest times of her life.

Mabel was the number one fan of Sanford’s Pond, where island children have skated and played hockey for decades. She helped Sanford maintain the pond, watched skaters on the pond from her kitchen window, and visited with young people and their parents, serving plenty of hot cocoa and molasses cookies. In this way, she formed close relationships with generations of island children, and followed both their academic and athletic pursuits closely, into their high school years and beyond.

A proud and devoted grandmother, Mabel loved to bake, sew, garden, and explore the shoreline with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was there for all the important events of their lives, no matter how far she had to travel, and she especially enjoyed describing her granddaughters’ and great-grandchildren’s accomplishments to friends.

Mabel’s commitment to Chebeague lasted a lifetime and will have an enduring influence. She spearheaded the island’s PTA, helped launch the school’s hot lunch program, and, through her work on the Cumberland Zoning Committee, ensured that island zoning laws remained fisherman-friendly. She was a constant presence in the kitchen during Hall suppers, and in recent years, she helped organize the monthly community luncheon program and served as co-president of the Hall Association. She regularly attended Ladies Aid, spent decades as a Library Trustee, and, for nearly fifty years, served as treasurer of both the Church Trustees and the Stephen Ross Scholarship Fund. In 1987, she helped found the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, and in 1990, she was President of the Chebeague Island Library Trustees when the new library was built. A voracious reader, she was also one of the island library’s most frequent patrons.

In 2005, it was Mabel’s comment that “it’s time to row our own boat” that led to the creation of the Town of Chebeague. In her 80s, Mabel was one of five island representatives to travel to Augusta to petition the Legislature about secession from Cumberland. In 2007, after the Town of Chebeague Island was established, Mabel said, "This [island] is ours now….We're going to be our own people." She served on both the Town Planning Board and the Hall Association Board until her death.

Mabel is survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Doughty Trask; son-in-law George Trask; granddaughters Laura Trask and her husband David Tyler of Minot, Amy Trask and her husband Aaron Pyle of Bangor, and Jennifer Bunch and her husband Bryan of Denver, Colo.; great-grandchildren Mabel, Lila, and Paden; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Sanford Doughty; two brothers, Leslie Knowles and Sheldon Knowles; and a sister, Ethel Smith.

The family would like to thank the dedicated staff and volunteers at the Chebeague Island Commons for the love and care given to Mabel in the last month of her life, as well as Mabel’s close friends who brightened her final days.

A celebration of Mabel’s life will be held at 1:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the Chebeague Island United Methodist Church. A reception will follow at the Island Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:
Island Commons, 132 Littlefield Rd., Chebeague Island, ME 04017
Chebeague Island United Methodist Church, PO Box 1, Chebeague Island, ME 04017
Chebeague Island Hall Kitchen Fund, c/o Dianne Brewer, 6 Rose’s Point Rd., Chebeague Island, ME 04017

"If you plan to come from the mainland to attend Mabel's memorial service, please be aware that there is very limited parking at the Cousin's Island lot, but there is plenty of room at the lot on Route 1 in Cumberland. You should plan to arrive at the Route 1 parking lot in Cumberland no later than 11:35 a.m. The bus to Cousin's Island will leave the Route 1 lot at 11:45, and the boat to Chebeague will leave Cousin's Island at 12:15. There will be a bus waiting at the Stone Pier on Chebeague to take you to the Church for the 1:30 service. Transportation will also be provided to the reception at the Hall. After the reception, a bus will take you back to the Stone Pier in time to catch the 4:45 p.m. boat back to Cousin's Island, and the CTC bus will deliver you back to the Route 1 parking lot. For more information about the bus and boat schedule, please consult the CTC website. We look forward to seeing you!"

Youtube Movie Slideshow made by Bev Johnson and Donna Damon for Mabel's 85th birthday party in 2009!

Donna Damon posted this tribute to Mabel on facebook and I have added the photos she posted below the few I have here:

"Yesterday I lost a role model, friend, co-conspiritor AND someone who was like a second mother to me and second grandmother to my children. Mabel Doughty was one of the smartest, energetic, learned, compassionate, loyal, and loving people that I have ever known! She could look down the road and see what needed to be done - and could make it happen. While others were stuck in the present, Mabel was thinking about what could be. Born just about as far from the sea as you can get, she became more of a Chebeaguer than many people who were born here. If George Washington was the "Father of our country", Mabel Doughty was the mother of Chebeague! Here are just a few pictures of the woman who came here to work at a girl's camp, married a fisherman, and at one time or another kept just about every organization a float with her good humor and hard work. Her favorite times were the years she served as first mate to Capt Sanford when they went fishing downeast. She would play a part in any play and probably made more hot chocolate and tightened as many skates as anyone around. And she never stopped! She help found the land trust in her 70s, led the charge to create a new town in her 80s, and in her 90s was still serving on the Planning Board, the Church trustees, the Hall board and was still chief cook and bottle washer in the kitchen. Extremely well-read, she could converse on any topic especially when it came to her great grand children! To say that she was loved by all who knew her is an understatement! She had a special relationship with many of the boys who helped Sanford at the pond over the years. She was proud of the men they became. Here a a few of my favorite photos. I didn't take them but hope those who did don't mind sharing! They are in no particular order but don't be surprised if you see her with the governor when she received the signed bill to create the Town! Thank you Mabel."

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Click here for photos from Mabel's birthday party in 2009.