Marjorie Byers Gay



BLUE HILL — After a courageous battle with brain cancer, Marjorie Byers Gay passed away peacefully Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, surrounded by her adoring husband and loving family. She was born May 28, 1939, to Douglas and Dorothy Byers of Andover, Mass.

A longtime summer visitor and permanent resident of Blue Hill, Mardi was active in the Ellsworth Rotary and sang with the Bagaduce Chorale and EllaCapella and the choir of the Blue Hill Congregational Church. Well versed in music and theater, Mardi attended the American Theater Wing in New York, where she performed in the first televised Tony Awards. Through the years, Mardi participated in numerous community theater groups, bringing to life such characters as Maria von Trapp, Adelaide, Dolly, Lady Thieng, Yente and many others. Her angelic voice was well known and well loved. After raising her family, Mardi went back to college, graduating with highest distinction from University of Maine in 1989 with an Associate of Science degree, and winning the President’s Award for academic excellence. While working as a substance abuse counselor in the Kelly Program at EMMC and Acadia Hospital, she graduated University of Maine cum laude with a BA in Human Services in 2001. Mardi participated in Maine’s first online External Degree program in Behavioral Science at the University of Maine center in Ellsworth. She served on the Board of Directors at UMM and wrote a number of academic papers, including the widely acclaimed “The Culture of Addiction in Successful Treatment.” This paper may be seen at www.mardibyers-gay.com. Her career included five years as consultant for the Office of Substance Abuse in Augusta, and serving on the state licensing board. As a DHHS consultant Mardi visited county attorneys and judges state-wide, and was a pioneer in the shift to alternative sentencing in the Maine drug court system. An avid Red Sox fan Mardi was in a box seat behind home plate when Ortiz hit his 50th home run. She attended Concord Academy, where she played goalie on the field hockey team. Diving to catch the final egg, Mardi won the annual egg-toss event at Acadia Hospital. At age 15 she won the Blue Hill Yacht Club junior racing championship. Rarely speaking of her past accomplishments, Mardi owned and piloted a Cessna-172 as manager of the Greenville Airport, and later produced a documentary film of the Kennebec River, using a helicopter as filming platform and Respighi music as background, for what was perhaps the first of the scenic overflight genre to follow in Maine.

“Mamu,” as she was known to her grandchildren, loved spending time with her family, knitting, gardening, and blazing travel trails with her “Honey Bunch.” Mardi is survived by her beloved husband of nearly 29 years, Richard “Dick” Gay; two daughters, Ruth Tainter (Troy) and Sara Leighton (Rick); two sons, Bill Billings (Amy) and Jeb Billings (Chris); grandchildren, Erik and Victoria Tainter; Billy and Kimberly Billings; Taylor and Samuel Hodgkin; Virginia and Margaret Brooks; Hannah, Jackson, and Matthew Billings; a sister, Corinne Soucy (Dr. Bob), and a brother, Bill (Suzi) Byers; stepchildren, Jacquie Leighton (Barry); Patty Olson (Barry); Cindy Quaas (Stewart); Michael Gay (Holly).

A celebration of Mardi’s life will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at the Blue Hill Congregational Church with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Marjorie Gay to Cancer Care of Maine, 33 Whiting Hill Road, Brewer, ME 04412. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.


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