CRANBERRY ISLES — Alice Conlon Lake, 82, died Oct. 31, 2011, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, a week after suffering a major stroke.
Born in the Bronx, N.Y. in 1929 to Joseph M. and Mary E. Conlon, her family later moved to Bergenfield, N.J., around the time her brother Joseph, eight years her junior, was born. Alice attended parochial schools, graduating from St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, N.J., in 1947. The Conlon family moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where Alice attended Syracuse University. Alice met her husband, John Lake, at Syracuse, from which they both graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1951.
They were married in Honolulu, Hawaii in June of 1952, while John served in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the Pearl Harbor Communications Office. Alice worked for the Honolulu Advertiser as a writer and reporter for the Sunday Womens’ section. After John’s discharge from the Navy in 1955, the couple moved back to Syracuse while John attended graduate school and Alice went to work for the Syracuse Post Standard. They soon moved to Binghamton, N.Y. where they both worked for the Binghamton News Press, John in the sports department and Alice as a feature writer. Shortly after Alice’s daughter Kathleen was born in Binghamton in 1959, John was offered a job at the New York Herald Tribune, so the family moved to New York City, where they happily settled on Morton Street in Greenwich Village, back among Alice’s many aunts, uncles and cousins who lived in the New York area.
Prior to the birth of Alice’s son Eric in 1962, the Lake family moved to Teaneck, N.J., a suburb of New York City. Alice worked both as a reporter and on the editorial desk for the Bergen Record & Morning Call, as well as a for a couple of smaller weekly newspapers, while John moved to Newsweek in 1964 as sports editor. John Lake disappeared and was declared missing in December of 1967. He was declared legally dead seven years later. Those seven years were a difficult time for the family. Saddled with debt and unable to sell the house or car because everything was in her husband’s name, Alice struggled to keep their home and support herself and her young children. But she managed as best she could and held on to the house.
After John was declared deceased in 1975, Alice made the bold decision to move the family to Islesford on Little Cranberry Island, where she bought the general store that served the small, year-round island community. It was a life-changing decision for the entire family that has been affirmed many times since. Alice sold the store after several years, but remained on Islesford until 1992, supporting herself by editing promotional advertising sections distributed in newspapers nationwide.
In her retirement years, Alice lived in both the greater Portland area and on Mount Desert Island, areas of Maine that she loved, enjoying time spent with her family, reading, watching classic movies and enjoying weekly engagements with the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
Alice is survived by her brother Joseph, of Ellington, Conn.; her daughter Kathleen of Ellsworth; son Eric and his wife Shelly of North Yarmouth; and her grandchildren John and Katherine. Those wishing to make donations in Alice’s memory may do so to Gosnell House, Hospice of Southern Maine, Scarborough ME 04074.
The Lake family is grateful for the kindness and loving care provided to Alice by the staff in her final days with us.