Janice O’Brien Sprague 87 of Nobleboro, passed away at the Lincoln Home on the morning of July 5th with her loving family by her side.
Born at home on the Bristol Road on November 10, 1935, she was the youngest daughter of Hance (Jack) O’Brien and Clara Wiley. She moved to her permanent home in 1942 on the Standpipe Road where she had many fond memories of farming and having a wonderful vegetable garden of which her Dad was very proud.
Janice lived a beautiful life that revolved around Family, Friends and Faith. She grew up in Damariscotta enjoying biking, swimming, skating, and meeting up with friends to go to the movies at Lincoln Theater. Janice also expressed a strong passion for music where she would often dress up and sing with her brother Bob in local plays, providing entertainment for family and friends. She never lost her ability to entertain, as well as her passion for music and encouraged family to pursue their passions. In academics, Janice always kept busy, being an active member of Castner School and later in high school at Lincoln Academy, where she graduated in 1954. At LA, she participated in basketball, Glee Club, L Club, and as a Class Officer. Her classmates voted her Ms. Lincolnette, in recognition of her involvement in a variety of LA activities and her embodiment of the Lincoln Academy Spirit. However, this didn’t stop her from being mischievous at times and she never hesitated to tell those stories. Her love for Lincoln Academy continued as her children grew, by serving on the Alumni council for 13 years. Over this time period she helped in starting LA Homecoming weekend and served on the banquet committee each year. She took this as an opportunity to reconnect with classmates and they cherished many luncheons together talking about “old times.” Over the years, she attended most of all her grandchildren’s sporting and musical events with pride. Overall, she held Lincoln Academy in high regard as she watched her children, grandchildren and great grandson all graduate from her Alma Mater.
After high school, she started working at Nash Telephone Company, as a switchboard operator. During that time she met Neil C. Sprague, when he was on leave from the Navy. They married on May 19, 1956 and went on to have five children over a span of 13 years. Janice was a wonderful Mom, involved in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and supporting Neil in his business, as owner of Colby & Gale. As a couple, she and Neil found time to travel to 50 states, many on Farm & Ranch tours and later she went to Ireland with her family in 2018 to trace her ancestral roots. She loved her extended Sprague family and attended many family picnics.
Her love for community was evident, spending 18 years enjoying the Rotary Oyster Festival and her role as a “Rotary Ann” where she made plenty of oyster stew over the years. There were countless hours spent over those weekends to raise the funds necessary for Rotary projects. In addition, she and Neil were keenly aware of the need for a facility in which local youth could gather, and participate in sports activities. They, and a small group of community members, founded the CLC Recreation Center, which now stands as the YMCA. Janice continued to help by being on the committee that founded the “Lonna Bunting Playground.” She was a faithful Y member and loved walking on the track and talking with people. Neil and Janice were gifted with many lifelong friendships that were formed through their business and volunteer efforts.
For 45 years she was an active member of the Second Congregational Church, and considered it a spiritual blessing to her and her family. The love and fellowship of the church community helped her through her own illness as well as her families; including the death of her husband in 2004. She felt peaceful and safe in the church, along with a real sense of belonging. She taught Sunday school, was involved in the church fair, and took pleasure in being in the choir for as long as she was able. This joy of singing was rekindled in “Hearts Ever Young,” where she performed in the weekend long community event over several years. Additionally, she possessed an interest in the history of the Twin Villages and that got her involved with The Damariscotta/Newcastle Historical Society. She was so happy to see it get a home on Chapman St. in Damariscotta, where all the history is now on display.
Janice was predeceased by her husband, Neil C Sprague; her parents, Clara & Hance O’Brien; brother, Robert O’Brien; and sister, Phyllis Charette.
She is survived by her children, Dana Sprague and wife Bonnie of Nobleboro, Alan Sprague of Damariscotta, Lurie Sprague Palino & husband Paul of Nobleboro, Lisa Masters & husband Steve of Round Pond and Amanda Sprague and Joseph Yost of New Harbor; grandchildren, Adam Sprague and wife Tracey, Alissa Sprague, Nicholas Sprague and wife Chelsea, Brittany Sprague, Thomas Masters, Nathan Masters, Jacob Masters, and Dutton Yost; great-grandchildren, Shane Cookson, Cameron Cronk, Gabriel Cronk, Nolan Sprague, Neil Sprague, Ella Sprague, Trenton Sprague, and Sarah Sodergren.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Second Congregational Church, 51 Main Street in Newcastle, at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1st, with refreshments downstairs in the Fellowship Hall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to either: Lincoln Academy, c/o Development office, 81 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle, ME 04553; The CLC YMCA, PO Box 787, Damariscotta, ME 04543; or the Second Congregational Church, PO Box 243, Newcastle, ME 04553.
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.