Cynthia T. Sheketoff, 80, died Wednesday, May 16, 2007, from complications of lung cancer. She was at home, in her own bed - with views of Casco Bay and her beloved property on Chebeague Island, Maine, surrounded by family and friends and, with the kindness and support of Hospice of Southern Maine and a dedicated home care team, she was peaceful and pain free to the end.
Born and raised in West Hartford, CT, she was a graduate of the Oxford School and Bradford Junior College. Until she moved to Chebeague in 1974, she had been Publicity Manager at Hartford National Bank for a few years and continued in that capacity for many years at Lowengard & Brotherhood.
Her fulfilling life on Chebeague included, as a 'summer complaint,' raising three boys, as well as running a taxi service the summers of 1959 & 1960. As a 'year-round complaint,' she had, for 13 plus years, been Clubhouse, then Business, Manager of the Great Chebeague Golf Club; a member of Chebeague Island Grange 576; and a past President and board member of the Chebeague Transportation Company. She was especially proud of having been a Co-Founder, and Director for seven years, of Chebeague Care Resources (now the Island Commons).
The daughter of the late William and Martha Tomlinson, she was predeceased by her husband, Merwin A. Sheketoff, and her eldest son, Tom Holt. She leaves her son Roger Holt of Melbourne, FL; son and daughter-in-law John and Mary Holt of Granby CT; grandchildren J Holt and his partner Jenny Goff, and Christian Holt.
A celebration will be held at the Chebeague Methodist Church on Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, your consideration of a donation to an organization that supports Chebeague community and programs would be appreciated. Of importance to Cynnie were:
"Island Commons Endowment Fund," 132 Littlefield Rd, Chebeague Is, ME 04017
"Samaritan Fund," c/o Gail Miller, Treasurer, 36 Fenderson Rd, Chebeague Is, ME 04017
"Cumberland Mainland & Islands Trust" (memo: Second Wind Farm), c/o Chebeague Rec Center, Chebeague Is, ME 04017
From Portland Press Herald:
May 18, 2007
CUMBERLAND - During the Patriot's Day storm, 80-year-old Cynthia Sheketoff slept on a cushioned window bench for a week under a big bay window at the Chebeague Island Library.
Rather than stay in a more comfortable place, Mrs. She-ketoff, who had terminal lung cancer, wanted to be with the friends she'd known since she bought her sloop captain's house on the island in 1954.
Mrs. Sheketoff, who died Wednesday, was remembered by family Thursday as a determined, strong woman who made the best of every situation.
"Every morning, she would wake up and say, 'We are quite comfortable here, aren't we,'" recalled her daughter-in-law, Mary Holt of Granby, Conn., who stayed with her during the storm.
"It was definitely a positive experience. Here she was in the center of it all, often visiting with several people at one time, and being able to handle the whole thing," said Holt.
Mrs. Sheketoff began summering on the island in the late 1940s. She had a home in Connecticut, where she was married and raised three sons.
After she and her first husband divorced in the 1960s, she entered the work force at Hartford National Bank. She was a teller and later the bank's publicity manager and publications editor. She worked in the same capacity at Lowengard & Brotherhood, a Hartford public relations firm.
"She was determined to be able to provide for her kids and maintain her house on the island," said one son, John Holt. "It was a great place to be in the summer and raise kids. It is where her heart is and was."
Mrs. Sheketoff's home was the place where family came to gather every summer. Like her children, her grandchildren also summered on the island.
"She made it possible for our boys to grow up on the island," Mary Holt said. "It certainly influenced them. She made opportunities available to our boys that they wouldn't have had."
Mrs. Sheketoff moved to the island permanently in 1974 and immersed herself in the community. She was a business manager of the Great Chebeague Golf Club and a member of Chebeague Island Grange. One of her proudest accomplishments was as co-founder and director of Chebeague Care Resource, now the Island Commons.
Mrs. Sheketoff, whose second husband, Merwin, died in 1976, always took care of other single residents on the island. She often invited people to her home for the holidays, friends said.
About a year ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
"That day, we both made an agreement, without saying a
word, that we would make the best of every day together,"
her daughter-in-law said. "We had a gift of a year to reinvent
our relationship, and we did."