Charlotte Herbold

Sep 04, 2018

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”—E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte Christensen Herbold passed away at her home in Belfast on Sept. 1, 2018, filled with peace and held in the love of her family and dear friends. For 84 years, Charlotte lived a life of commitment to her many passions: her children, family and friends; the teaching of theater, literature, and writing; theological and spiritual study; peace and social justice, and loving service to those who struggle. She is remembered with love, admiration and gratitude by her community of devoted friends and former students as well as by her family.

Charlotte was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Jan. 18, 1934, to attorney James Morris Christensen and Erma (Bennion) Christensen, a teacher and the daughter of a sheep rancher. After graduating from Rowland Hall School, she attended the University of Utah and Stanford University. In a Shakespeare class in March 1954, Charlotte introduced herself to handsome Anthony Everett Herbold of Hollywood, archly remarking, “Well, if it isn’t Lord Byron.” Charlotte married Tony in June of that year in Salt Lake City, and the two embarked upon a spirited life of intellectual and geographical adventure. They first moved to Vienna, Austria, where Charlotte studied acting at the Max Reinhardt Seminar, and then two years later to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Tony taught school and they welcomed the first of what were ultimately to be eight children. After returning to the States in 1959, Charlotte and Tony moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where Tony completed his doctoral studies in English literature. In Ann Arbor, Charlotte acted in plays while bearing three more children. Throughout the 1960s, as Tony joined the English departments at Dartmouth College and then the University of California at Berkeley, Charlotte continued to perform as an actress. She also earned a master’s degree in theater at Berkeley, taught elementary school, and cared for their growing brood, whom she raised in the Catholic Church.

In 1970, Charlotte moved with Tony and their then-six children from Berkeley to a 56-acre farm in Amherst. While Tony taught Renaissance and modern drama at the University of Maine at Orono, he and Charlotte and their family farmed, gardened and raised cows, pigs, chickens, horses and geese. Charlotte also brought innovation and energy to teaching in the one-room school for the sixth through eighth grades in Amherst. After Tony’s unexpected death in 1974 at the age of 41, which was followed by the birth of their youngest child, Charlotte returned to graduate school at Orono for a second master’s degree, in English literature, while continuing to live on the farm with her children. Charlotte then began a new career teaching composition and literature to non-traditional students at the Onward Program at the University of Maine. For 20 years, she was deeply committed to helping her students empower themselves by learning to think critically, write clearly and read responsively.

After retiring from the Onward Program in 2001 Charlotte settled in Belfast, where for the rest of her days she remained vitally and delightedly engaged in acting with the Belfast Maskers and teaching and studying literature, drama and film in the Senior College. For several years, Charlotte was active in the Waldo County Democratic Committee, edited the newsletter of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, protested unjust wars and social inequality, wrote trenchant letters to the editor, supported people recovering from addiction, tutored children as a volunteer, read widely in literature, theology and spirituality, tended her flower garden, spent time with her many friends, and welcomed (and, always, cooked for) her eight children and their partners and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Charlotte is survived by her large family, including daughters Sarah, Hannah, Hilary (Terence Smith), Jessica (John Daigle) and Emily Herbold and sons Timothy (Jennifer), Seth (April), and Pablo (Tessa) Herbold; her sister Marie Dern and brother James M. Christensen; grandchildren Felix Heisch, Sylvia Herbold, Isobel Herbold Moss (Palmer Thompson Moss), Lily Herbold, Tristan Herbold, KB Kinkel-Brinkmann (Rory Kinkel-Brinkmann), Oliver Kinkel, Jessica Kosinski, Kelsi Kosinski, Owen Smith, Will Smith, Henry Herbold, Natalie Herbold, Luke Herbold, Leo Herbold and Sam Herbold; great-grandchildren Jack Moss, Skye Moss and Minka Kosinski-Torina; nieces Jane Christensen, Amy Christensen and Daisy Dern and nephews Fritz and James Dern; and dear friend MaJo Keleshian. Charlotte leaves many beloved friends whom, to the end, she held close in her heart with joy. Her family wishes especially to express their eternal gratitude to Meredith Bruskin for her devoted and skillful care of Charlotte over the past year, and also their sincere thanks to Dr. Peter Millard and the staff at Seaport Community Health Center.

Funeral services will be held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Belfast, on Friday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. A reception will follow. All are welcome.

Memories and condolences may be shared at ripostafh.com.

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