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Smart & Edwards Funeral Home

183 Madison Ave, Skowhegan, ME

OBITUARY

Sylvia Ham Thistle

December 27, 1941January 18, 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely death of our mother Sylvia H Thistle. Born in New Britain, CT she was the daughter of Ruth (Perkins) and Frederick Fay Ham. Sylvia grew up in Norridgewock and spent her adult life teaching English and Social Studies at the Skowhegan Area Middle School. She loved teaching and always said “if you have to work, teaching is the best job”. She would refer to it as “shaping young minds” and had a great way of making learning fun. Sylvia enjoyed time with her grandchildren, travelling, playing cards with her sister and brother in law, golfing and walking Dawson in the neighborhood. She enjoyed trips to the coast and daily life with Newell. She recently travelled with the family to Florida to enjoy the warm weather and beach life. She took every opportunity to golf regardless of conditions. Sylvia was the most fashionable person in our family and never turned down a shopping trip and generously shared the results with all of us – the “Closet of Sylvia” was always open. Her family and friends looked forward to her cream puffs and both grandchildren enjoyed afterschool popcorn drowning in butter with a game of dominoes. She was predeceased by her husband John and parents Fay and Ruth. She is survived by her partner Newell Graf, children Christopher Finnemore and wife Mary; daughter Heather Finnemore Johnson and husband Jeff; and grandchildren Sarah Finnemore and John Johnson; sister Susan Adams and husband Lawrence; brother Stephen Ham; many life-long friends especially Bev Fitzsimmons, Ron LaFratta and Judy Enright; and beloved nieces and nephews. There will be a Celebration of Life on Thursday, January 23 at 3pm at the Federated Church, 13 Island Avenue, Skowhegan, Maine. Per her wishes, after the Celebration of Life there will be a cocktail reception at the Heritage House, Madison Avenue, Skowhegan, Maine. Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, Maine In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Sylvia’s memory to The John and Sylvia Finnemore Scholarship Fund. Checks may be sent to Skowhegan Area High School c/o Jane Bigelow, 61 Academy Circle, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.

  • FAMILY

  • She is survived by her partner Newell Graf, children Christopher Finnemore and wife Mary; daughter Heather Finnemore Johnson and husband Jeff; and grandchildren Sarah Finnemore and John Johnson; sister Susan Adams and husband Lawrence; brother Stephen Ham; many life-long friends especially Bev Fitzsimmons, Ron LaFratta and Judy Enright; and beloved nieces and nephews.
    She was predeceased by her husband John and parents Fay and Ruth.

Services

  • Celebration of Life Thursday, January 23, 2020

Memories

Sylvia Ham Thistle

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Kathy Greene

January 29, 2020

The world has lost a beautiful soul . I knew Sylvie through our mutual friend , Judy Enright . I always looked forward to seeing her on our yearly trek to Maine . To her children and Newell , my heartfelt condolences and prayers . She will be missed .

Patti Frechette

January 22, 2020

I met Sylvia through Judy Enright but unfortunately I was never able to spend a lot of time with her. She was the type of person you wanted to get to know once you met her. She will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to her loved ones and friends.

Kyle Timothy Blood

January 22, 2020

My deepest condolences to Sylvia's entire family and closest of friends. My, how she could light up a room with her beaming smile and that sparkle in her eye, usually followed by throwing her head back and letting out an infectious laugh. Always kind, always generous with her time, always wanting to know how your day was going, she made this once seventh-grader feel welcome, engaged, and safe both in and outside of her classroom. And she certainly knew how to make an entrance with her inimitable style. (She may well have sported the first espadrille I ever saw!) As much as she will be missed, I know her enthusiasm for and love of life will carry on in all of us who had the honor of knowing her.

Valmont Saucier, jr

January 22, 2020

I remember Mrs. Finnemore was always kind. She cared about her students. She was always there for you when you needed her. Mrs Finnemore was my favorite Teacher.

Katie Sanborn michaud

January 21, 2020

I can hardly remember a time Sylvia wasn’t part of my world in some way or fashion. A favorite teacher, my mothers best friend, always, always a member of my personal fan club and the coolest thing is I think she was a member of countless other people’s personal fan clubs too. Love and miss you Sylvie

Jan Arch-Clark

January 21, 2020

What a beautiful smile, it was a smile that Sylvia will be remembered for. She was a great teacher who made a difficult transition for me seem not so bad. My family had moved here when I was 12. To say the least I was scared and nervous about starting this new journey.
Luckily I was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Finnemore as a teacher. She was so warm welcoming and just made the transition smooth.
My heartfelt condolences to her Son Chris and daughter Heather. She was such a positive person always encouraging and caring.
R. I.P. Sylvia, you will be sadly missed.

DANA ^ JANINE LEACH

January 21, 2020

So many memories teaching together at SAjr. H./Middle School.
Fashion statement no matter what the occasion. The biggest smile.

Angel Paradis

January 21, 2020

I am so saddened by Sylvia’s passing.
Mrs. Finnemore was my teacher in middle school. She was a wonderful and kind hearted lady! During those middle school years she knew how shy I was and always made me feel comfortable. Even if just in passing in the hallways she made sure to say a friendly hello! She was definitely one of my favorites!
Later in years we had many other encounters and she hadn’t changed at all still the same kind hearted fashionable lady! I will keep her and her family in my my thoughts!

Ellen Boucher

January 21, 2020

I am so shocked and saddened at the loss of Sylvia. She has been one of my favorite customers for a long time. She always seemed to be in a hurry but I think that was just her. She would rush in on a breeze always with a smile and a greeting as she found her way into the cooler. In a few minutes she would come out and say, "Can we..." (which she usually changed to " May we..." ) and " Do we have..." and as we started to gather her things she was quickly on to the next thing... usually balloons. Every occasion was an occasion worth celebrating with flowers, balloons and, I'm sure, good food and wine.
Sylvia and I shared a joke almost every time she came in. It stemmed from many years ago when she was attempting to buy some babysbreath. I don't remember if it was a holiday or if we had wedding bouquets to make. Whatever the reason, Louise, our long-standing employee of the past, firmly informed Sylvia that she couldn't have that stem of babysbreath. It was all spoken for. Ever since then (and that had to be at least 15 years ago), Sylvia would check to see if the "babysbreath police" were on patrol that day. Every time she asked for babysbreath we would exchange meaningful glances and laugh.
That's what I will miss most about Sylvia I suppose. She was always up for a laugh and some new adventure. There was always a twinkle in her eye. She always had something nice to say. I will miss her whirlwind visits.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely death of our mother Sylvia H Thistle. Born in New Britain, CT she was the daughter of Ruth (Perkins) and Frederick Fay Ham. Sylvia grew up in Norridgewock and spent her adult life teaching English and Social Studies at the Skowhegan Area Middle School. She loved teaching and always said “if you have to work, teaching is the best job”. She would refer to it as “shaping young minds” and had a great way of making learning fun.
Sylvia enjoyed time with her grandchildren, travelling, playing cards with her sister and brother in law, golfing and walking Dawson in the neighborhood. She enjoyed trips to the coast and daily life with Newell. She recently travelled with the family to Florida to enjoy the warm weather and beach life. She took every opportunity to golf regardless of conditions. Sylvia was the most fashionable person in our family and never turned down a shopping trip and generously shared the results with all of us – the “Closet of Sylvia” was always open.
Her family and friends looked forward to her cream puffs and both grandchildren enjoyed afterschool popcorn drowning in butter with a game of dominoes.
She was predeceased by her husband John and parents Fay and Ruth. She is survived by her partner Newell Graf, children Christopher Finnemore and wife Mary; daughter Heather Finnemore Johnson and husband Jeff; and grandchildren Sarah Finnemore and John Johnson; sister Susan Adams and husband Lawrence; brother Stephen Ham; many life-long friends especially Bev Fitzsimmons, Ron LaFratta and Judy Enright; and beloved nieces and nephews.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Thursday, January 23 at 3pm at the Federated Church, 9 Island Avenue, Skowhegan, Maine. Per her wishes, after the Celebration of Life there will be a cocktail reception at the Heritage House, Madison Avenue, Skowhegan, Maine.
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, Maine
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Sylvia’s memory to The John and Sylvia Finnemore Scholarship Fund. Checks may be sent to Skowhegan Area High School c/o Jane Bigelow, 61 Academy Circle, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.