WALDO — Dona Jean Lounsbury (Stover), 76, passed away Feb. 23, 2022, in Camden.

Dona was born March 30, 1945, in Portland to Donald and Marion Lounsbury. She grew up in Reading and Wakefield, Mass., but returned to Maine to earn a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Maine at Orono in 1967 and later a teaching certificate.

She began graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in occupational therapy, but left that behind in 1969 for a cross-country adventure to the West Coast. Her adventurous spirit led her to cross the country several more times throughout her life to do everything from prospecting in Alaska with her future husband, Lee Stover, to taking two tours of the National Parks with her family.

Children were Dona’s absolute greatest joy. She embodied the very essence of what a mother should be: patient, loving, empathetic and supportive. However, Dona’s own children were not the only ones who benefited from these fine qualities; many children in the community benefited too.

Dona owned the Riverside Preschool in Calais in the 1980s, and was the children’s librarian at the Calais Free Library for much of the 1990s. Many will fondly remember her homemade playdough, puppet shows and summer reading programs. She was also known for her excellent home-cooked meals and relished having a group of kids gathered around the table for her latest creation.

In the early 2000s Dona and her husband left Calais and headed to a plot of family land in Waldo for an early retirement. The so-called early retirement turned out to be a “back to the land” adventure full of chainsaws, yarding logs for the sawmill, and battling deer in the garden as they carved out a life in a log cabin with no electricity and no running water. Dona had boundless energy, was never idle and had an unbelievably strong work ethic. Eventually however, Dona missed working with children, and left the woods for an encore chapter in her career working as a professional nanny until her full retirement.

Dona was an avid reader, dedicated writer, multimedia artist and prolific crafter. You truly felt loved when you received one of her handmade cards with an intricate drawing and heartfelt words, or one of her knitted creations or felted animals. Creativity poured out of her. She was a musician who, over the course of her life, moved from the clarinet and saxophone all the way up to the baritone horn and finally to the tuba with its deep bass sound that she loved so much. It was quite a sight to see this small woman trucking her giant tuba down the road to join the Lincolnville Band as they played in the local parades.

Dona was incredibly active and loved many outdoor pursuits. She could often be found paddling on the lake, hiking up a mountain, skiing down the slopes or just walking along a country road greeting everyone she saw with a broad smile and pleasant words. No matter what the season or the weather, Dona was never happier than when she was outside, especially if she was in the company of a child exploring the natural world.

Dona is survived by her daughter, Alyssa Bregman, son-in-law Daniel, grandson Eli and granddaughter Claire, all of Lincolnville; sister Diana Starke of Roslindale, Mass.; ex-husband Lee Stover of Waldo; daughter-in-law Jane Buchanan Stover of Wellesley, Mass.; and beloved aunties, nieces and nephews.

Dona was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Tobias “Toby” Stover.

Memorial donations in celebration of Dona’s commitment to the education of children and her delight in the natural world can be made to the children’s section of your local library or to Coastal Mountains Land Trust in Camden.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at ripostafh.com.

filed under: