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Ann Wheeler Bishop, of Jefferson, passed away peacefully in the embrace of family on Saturday, October 14 after a several year bout with acute myeloid leukemia. Ann was born April 23, 1947 to Morton and Lydia Rogers Wheeler in Newburyport, Massachusetts. She grew up in neighboring Salisbury on idyllic Sweet Apple Tree Lane overlooking the mouth of the Merrimack River.
Ann attended local schools, graduating from Newburyport High School in 1965. She was an active leader in high school, involved in student government, band, and was an accomplished field hockey and basketball player. She continued her education at Bates College graduating in 1969 with a degree in Sociology. Once again, she was involved in many student activities and a member of the field hockey team, long before Title IX. Growing up on the Merrimack, Ann had the opportunity to play on the river, mostly sailing and teaching at the Newburyport Yacht Club. As a family, she accompanied her parents and sisters to outings in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she developed her love for hiking.
It was at the Yacht Club that she met the love of her life, John Bishop, Jr. of Newburyport. Following his time in the service and her graduation from college they were married, on July 27, 1969. They quickly purchased the Medusa, a 27 foot sloop, moved aboard, and sailed the summer away.
After teaching in Newburyport for a year and a brief stint in Vermont, they moved to Jefferson, Maine in 1972. Ann taught at Castner School and later Great Salt Bay in Damariscotta. She touched the lives of hundreds of students and hopefully passed on her love of reading to many. During her thirty plus years of teaching, she found many life-long friends in her co-workers and always looked forward to their LR meetings.
Molly Ann joined the family in 1976, Alice Cameron completing the family in 1979. Her child-rearing was not typical, but she provided her girls with everything they could possibly need and an unconditional love that will last their lifetimes. She certainly embedded her hardworking, creative and competitive ways in her children. She attended each and every sporting event that Molly and Alice were a part of, and continued her support of high school athletics, and later cheering on the teams the girls coached and befriended and encouraged each athlete to strive for their potential.
Always giving, she donated one of her kidneys to John in 1998.
In 2016, her grandson and apple of her eye, Cameron Hunt was born. She doted on him from day one and loved being his Ninny. They spent countless hours making lots of special memories, hunting pheasant and riding the four wheeler to name a few.
When they first moved to Maine and were teaching full time, Ann and John spent their summers cruising the coast on the Medusa. There were very few safe harbors they missed anchoring in, doing it on a tight budget, no frills. They simply liked to mess about in boats. When the kids arrived, they sailed as a family. As the girls grew and were involved in more activities, the long trips on the water ceased, but the exploring never ended. They purchased their cottage on Back Cove in the ‘80s, and embraced the surrounding area as their own, enjoying each and every outing on the water and obtaining lobster licenses as just another excuse to be out there. In the winter and fall much time was spent skiing in the western mountains, and even more time was spent hiking, all over Maine and New Hampshire. After the girls graduated, she spent a great deal of time training their bird dogs and hunting with John. She enjoyed moose hunting, gardening, genealogy, and knowing what was down every road around, regardless of no-trespassing signs. She didn’t love house cleaning or cooking, doing only the bare minimum until she could move on to any other more enjoyable activity! She enjoyed sewing and braiding rugs, but you were just as likely to find her fixing a washing machine, changing the oil on an outboard engine or shingling the side of a barn. It was a dangerous proposition to stop by and visit, because you never knew what favor she might ask you to do, but rarely did folks say no. To say she was frugal would be an understatement.
She was a fiercely independent woman, creative, brillant (though sometimes lacking common sense), kind beyond measure, and just plain fascinating to be around. She was truly one of a kind.
Ann was predeceased by her parents and her husband of 51 years John Bishop, Jr. She is survived by daughter Alice Bishop of Waldoboro, daughter Molly Bishop Harriman and her husband Jesse of Jefferson/Bowdoinham, grandson Cameron Hunt of Waldoboro and Jesse’s daughter Cassidy of Bowdoinham. She is also survived by her sister Judy Holliday and her husband John of Waldoboro, sister Molly Loik and her husband Jim of Kingston, NH, sister-in-law Janet McDonnell and her husband Bob of Newburyport, MA. Nephew Scott Holliday and his wife Vanita Sood, niece Jenny Holliday and her husband Barry Lampke, nephew Jason Loik and wife Chantal, nephew David Loik and his wife Kristen, nephew Thomas Loik and his partner April Halloran, nephew Marc McDonnell and wife Carrie, and nephew Greg McDonnell. Great nieces and nephews Ben, Sarah, Willa, Maddison, Lilliana, Arabelle, Teddy, Sophia, Leilani, Kalina, Avery, Hadley and Evan.
Please feel free to join family and friends for a memorial service at the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home in Damariscotta, on Sunday, October 22 at 11:00 am. A reception-style celebration will be held following the service at the North Nobleboro Community Center, 560 Upper East Pond Rd, Nobleboro, ME from 12:30-2:30, bring a dish to share if you like.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Waldoboro Public Library, PO Box 768, Waldoboro, ME 04572 in Ann’s memory.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.