Thelma Ham Hayward
Thelma Ham Hayward, 103, of Belfast, passed away peacefully on Jan. 7 at Tall Pines Residential Care, in Belfast. Thelma was born to Benjamin C. and Charlotte Cross Ham on Feb. 21, 1910, in Revere, Mass. Growing up in Maine, Thelma graduated from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield and earned her BA at the University of Mane in Orono. After a short period of teaching in several Maine schools, as well as in Carmel, Calif., she decided to further her immersion into the French culture by traveling and studying in France. While there in the summer of 1939, she found employment in a women and children’s refugee camp for those displaced from the Spanish Civil War. Thelma was one of the American passengers on the SS Washington, the last ship to leave before the German occupation in World War II. In the summer of 1942 she wrote her account of these experiences. In 2009 she finally published her book “Phosphorus on the Waves,” at age 99!
Upon her return to the United States in 1940, she attended Middlebury College in Vermont where she received her Master’s Degree. She subsequently taught in Wellesley and Natick, Mass., finishing her teaching career in French and Latin at Thornton Academy in Saco.
Thelma maintained a home in Wellesley, Mass., but was always drawn back to her native Maine. Prior to retirement she made the move to a home in Wells Beach, which she came to dearly love. Upon retirement she made a summer trip to visit family in Belfast and found her aunt’s home that she visited as a child was up for sale. She purchased the ancestral home and settled in Belfast while making many improvements and updates to the old property. In her later years she was a resident at Penobscot Shores and later the Residence at Tall Pines.
During the time she was working on the old home on Route 1 in Belfast she met and subsequently married Harold D. Hayward. They were both very active in pursuit of their passion for genealogy and enjoyed their several years together. Harold died in 1987.
In addition to her parents and her husband, Thelma was predeceased by her brother Miron who perished with the sinking of the USS Cooper in 1943 in the Philippine Sea. She is survived by her niece, Millicent Trafton of Chatsworth, Calif., and Millicent’s children Christi Lott, Daniel Trafton, Dawn Trafton, and Donnavan der Valk. She is also survived by step children Lynn Hayward and wife Shirley of Northport, Phyllis and husband Herbert Jordan of Amherst, Rita and husband David Edman, of Oklahoma, Allen Hayward and friend Irene, of Northport, Dale Hayward and wife Geri, of Rockland , and Shirley Hayward, of Camden. She is also survived by Cousins Wayne Ham and wife Peggy and Marlene Harris and husband Richard, of Winslow.
A graveside service will be held in the spring at a date to be announced. The service will be held in the spring at Morrill Village Cemetery in Morrill, Maine. Contributions in her remembrance may be made to the Belfast-Waldo County Humane Society, PO Box 479, Belfast, ME 04915, in memory of her beloved cat and companion Beau. Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home Belfast. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.ripostafh.com.