Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Memory of Stella

   My Great-aunt and Godmother, Stella Orr, passed this week and will be dearly missed. She was an incredible woman: a “Mainer” through and through, and one of the most passionate, vibrant, kind, and happy people I’ve ever met. She was also the only living artist to whom I’m related, so she was extra-special to me. She was self-taught but very talented, and I’ll always treasure the hand painted watercolor cards she sent for Christmas every year. I believe Stella was 93 this year. She set quite an example for living right and was beloved by all.
   My sister came up with the idea for our family to make donations in her name to an organization that supports arts education for kids in MaineSince I know so many artists, I thought this was worth sharing. There is a button on the home page to make donations if you would like to contribute. The button is for annual recurring donations; to make a one-time donation, email peter@maineartsed.org and please let them know it is in memory of Stella Orr.
   I say "I believe Stella was 93" because if you'd met her, you'd NEVER guess her age—so it was tough for me to keep track. She was the ultimate example of "you're only as old as you feel" and had the BEST attitude. Her husband passed long ago but she remained active and happy, painting, golfing, and playing tennis with friends, and living independently in her adorable house in Waterville, Maine for many years. She was a total spitfire with an incredible sense of humor.
   Stella was a great storyteller; she had a thick Maine accent which only added to the fun of listening to her. My favorite was years ago when Maine had a ton of snow, and she was snowed-in her house for over a week. She called me and said, "Honey, it's like a WAHZONE up here!" (Took me a few minutes to realize she said "war zone." Still makes me laugh. "Mainer" is practically a foreign tongue.)
   I will always treasure our family's trips up to Maine to visit, which included laughter, fun, and of course eating fresh blueberries right off the bushes. Kelley and I always added on extra days to hike together in Acadia National Park and to visit lovely Bar Harbor, and though the two of us went alone, we have Stella to thank for those opportunities. Had she not lived there, we might never have taken those trips. THANK YOU, STELLA!!! These hiking trips with Kelley were absolutely formative to my deep love of hiking and nature. They were the start for me.
Happy = young. Stella taught us that. God bless you, Stella!