TRENTON—Mary “Pam” Pamelia Richardson Markwood Voris, 84, died peacefully Sept. 14, 2009, at home in Trenton with her daughter and son-in-law, after a brave, decade-long fight with cancer.
The granddaughter of Samuel Scott Estey, founder of the Pioneer Dairy Farm in Ellsworth, Pam split her years between her beloved summer cottage in Shady Nook in Trenton and a succession of homes in seven states and five countries. She was born April 16, 1925, in Great Barrington, Mass., but grew up across the state line in Canaan, Conn., where her father, Frank, was the school principal. At 12 she lost her mother, Florence, to cancer. After that Pam’s Ellsworth aunts, Bertha Byrne and Julia Ramsdell, became her summertime mothers, teaching her the sewing, knitting and other crafts at which she became so remarkably skilled. (Examples of her knitting and braided rug-making are still on display at The Naturalist’s Notebook shop in Seal Harbor.) Pam earned a bachelor’s degree from Mary Washington College in Virginia, where she began going by the name Pam instead of Mary because she so loved her middle name, Pamelia. In 1948, she married Virginian Bill Markwood, whose engineering career led the two of them to live in Indonesia, South Africa, Italy, Norway and England. Pam often told the story of how in 1949 she traveled alone from Connecticut to Indonesia by train and ship as a less-than-worldly 24-year-old, hiding cash in her bra. Her zest for life, upbeat spirit and nurturing nature brought her many dear friends wherever she lived. She and Bill had two children, Scott and Pamelia, and Pam was always a favorite mom of neighborhood kids because of her great cooking and cheerful welcomes. Her spirit carried her through her husband’s death in 1984 and led her to remarry six years later in Cedar Mountain, N.C., to which she had retired. Her second husband, Robert Voris, had 11 grown children, whom Pam embraced and cherished. Pam — an avid player of golf, bridge, Scrabble, Upwords and any other game she had a chance to try — had happy years with Bob before he lost his own struggle with cancer in 1998. Pam spent most of her last decade living with daughter, Pamelia and son-in-law, Craig Neff, first in New York City and more recently in Trenton. She never lost her spark (“I have a bit of the devil in me,” she liked to say) and she always looked beautiful, even in her final moments, with Pamelia and Craig by her side, the breeze off Western Bay on her face and Andrea Bocelli singing a Puccini aria that was her favorite.
She is survived by 11 children and stepchildren: Pamelia Markwood of Trenton, Scott Markwood of Montville, N.J., Eva Avery of Lilburn, Ga., Janet Boardman and Barbara Eastman of LaPorte, Ind., Mary Enright of Plano, Texas, Virginia Jacobs of Belpre, Ohio, Bill Voris of Lombard, Ill., Bob Voris of Eagle River, Alaska, Chas Voris of LaPorte, Ind. and Patrick Voris of Grants Pass, Ore. She also leaves behind 25 grandchildren; and 14 great grandchildren. The family wishes to thank the home health and hospice group from Community Health and Counseling Services for enabling Pam to fulfill her wish of dying at home, and Dr. Bernard Bochner of Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York for his extraordinary work and caring manner.
No funeral is planned. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that all who knew Pam simply enjoy their memories of this classy, graceful woman with the sparkle in her eye, and try to be as loving to others as she was.