Elizabeth Gamage Hodgkins
December 8, 1941 – May 7, 2019
Elizabeth G. Hodgkins
1941 - 2019
YARMOUTH - Elizabeth (Beth) Gamage Hodgkins of Yarmouth, who, following a long career as a public schoolteacher and homemaker, wrote the signature recipe book in Maine for using maple syrup in cooking, Maine Maple beyond Pancakes, died at home on May 7, 2019, of pancreatic cancer.
Daughter of Vernon and Wilma Gamage of Augusta, Beth attended Augusta schools and graduated from Cony High School in 1959. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Farmington State Teachers College in 1963. While attending FSTC she served on several committees and participated in many organizations. Upon graduation she was selected to appear in the 1962-1963 edition of Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges. She taught primary education in Wiscasset and Houlton schools before suspending her teaching career to raise a family.
A music lover, she played trumpet in several bands and orchestras throughout her high school and college years. She also sang in several church choirs and community choruses, including Boothbay Harbor, Houlton, Cumberland, Farmington, and Yarmouth, throughout her life.
In 1965 she married John Hodgkins, the love of her life. After a stint in Houlton, they moved to Yarmouth where she became a preeminent homemaker, always home when her children arrived there from school, insisting that the entire family be present for breakfast, dinner, and church on Sunday. During those years she served as a classroom volunteer, substitute teacher, a Cub Scout Den Mother, and a First Parish Congregational Church Sunday-school teacher, choir member, committee worker, deacon, and camp counselor at Pilgrim Lodge. When the youngest left home for college, she returned to full-time teaching, this time at Yarmouth’s Rowe School where she taught 1st grade until she retired in 1999. After retiring, she was active in the Yarmouth Health Council and the local Fortnightly Club.
Beth (and John) produced Maine maple syrup in Temple, Maine, from the time of their marriage, which inspired the recipe book, a book of maple lore, education, and recipes. She received an Honorary Life Member award from the Maine Maple Producers Association in 2009. She spoke often to groups on sugaring, or about the old tumbledown farmhouse in Temple that she and John acquired as a project and so lovingly restored over the years, or “making something out of nothing.” Frugal, Beth was well known for creating greeting cards or gifts or toys out of whatever was at hand. A common dinner floral arrangement was frequently gleaned from the woods and spaces surrounding her home in Yarmouth, the camp in Litchfield, or the farm in Temple. At John’s MDOT retirement dinner, she told the “real story behind John’s achievements,” best talk of the evening, it was said.
An outdoor lover also, she loved mountain climbs, long distance hikes, and canoe trips with John, family, and friends throughout her married life.
In later years, she traveled with John many times to new and out-of-the-way places: Eastern Siberia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Death Valley, and for their 50th wedding anniversary, North Dakota, one of a very few states she hadn’t visited. There she visited Amenia, ND, population 94, where an ancestor had moved in the 1800s, and Newman, ND, a namesake town, population 62 (her mother was a Newman). They, also traveled with church members to Safe Passage in Guatemala City, an organization that provides school enrollment for poor children whose families scavenge the Guatemala City garbage dump to survive, to spend a week as classroom teachers. Beth was a strong family person, visiting relatives often. She loved her three children and seven grandchildren dearly, always present at sporting events, concerts, school activities, and holidays. And she would entertain them with animal stories of her childhood (and her adulthood) on a farm, always carrying to the grandchildren her “rice krispy squares,” which they loved and yearned for, as well as her storied “outlaws” cookies.
Beth is survived by her husband of 53 years, John; daughter Bethel Stephens and husband Bob of Brentwood, New Hampshire; son Jack and wife Victoria of Park City, Utah; son Bill and spouse Joey Wyspianski of Portland; and seven dear grandchildren.
Contributions may be made in Beth’s memory to Safe Passage, 49 Farm View Drive New Gloucester, Maine 04260. The family wishes also to extend much gratitude to Hospice of Southern Maine for the care and assistance provided to both Elizabeth and John, and to the First Parish Congregational Church, as well as the many friends and neighbors throughout Yarmouth, for their generous support. Friends and family are invited to share their memories and offer their condolences by visiting Beth’s online guestbook at www.lindquistfuneralhome.com
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm at Lindquist Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 11am at First Parish Congregational Church, 116 Main St., Yarmouth, Maine, 04096. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Lindquist Funeral Home, 1 Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth, Maine, 04096.
- Vernon Gamage, Father
- Wilma Gamage, Mother
- John Hodgkins, Husband
- Bethel Stephens, Daughter
- Bob Stephens, Son-in-law
- Jack Hodgkins, Son
- Victoria Hodgkins, Daughter-in-law
- Bill Hodgkins, Son
- Joey Wyspianski, Bill's Spouse
- Seven Grandchildren
49 Farm View Drive, New Gloucester, Maine 04260
- Visiting Hours Wednesday, May 15, 2019
- Funeral Service Thursday, May 16, 2019
Elizabeth Gamage Hodgkins
Patti & Brian Bicknell
May 16, 2019
Beth and I knew each other as school moms and Music Boosters and John and Brian share a Phi Kap connection, but it wasn't until 2002 that we became neighbors.
We have memories of her warm and welcome smile, but especially remember the Fall Socials she and I held for new neighbors. Such a warm, gracious and kind woman. We will miss her.
Becky Clifford Pride
May 15, 2019
Your beloved mother was a treasure.
It was always a joy to see her at YHS and anywhere our paths crossed. Gracious, lovely, kind: I’m so grateful to have known her. I know you will carry her in your hearts always, and that will give you great comfort.
Ross and Julie Berntson
May 15, 2019
Our love and sympathy to the entire Hodgkins family. Your Mom was always full of life and joy. Jack will remember driving around Cornell with her when she let out a 'whoop'. I still laugh when I think about it. She was full of adventure in all her trips including when we met in Alaska, and she told how she saved John from the mustard poultice in Russia. Of course always welcoming whenever guests arrived especially one Easter many years ago when our families joined together for an Easter dinner in Yarmouth with her delicious lobster bisque. You will be missed Mrs. Hodgkins. God's Peace to you and your family. Love, Ross and Julie Berntson
May 13, 2019
Elizabeth Gamage Hodgkins was a classmate of mine, colleague and friend. We were both members of the class of 1959 at Cony High School in Augusta. She was always a lady and one of the kindest persons I had the pleasure to know. It was my good fortune to get re-aquainted with her when we both ended up in Yarmouth, Maine where I became a teacher and had her three children as my students. Beth was an involved parent and we were both involved in her childrens educations. Eventually Beth became a colleague of mine when she returned to teaching herself. I am pleased to have known her throughout these many years and want to offer my sincere condolences to John, Bethel, Jack and Bill. I know this is a difficult loss and I feel it as well.
May 13, 2019
We are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with you.
May 12, 2019
nice lady. so sorry for your loss.
May 11, 2019
To the family of Beth,
My name is Richard Coffin, formerly of Augusta, except seasonally now. Beth and I were classmates at Cony High School. To me, she always seemed to have a perpetual smile, and
was always good-natured. Beth's Dad was our milkman in Augusta for many, many years,
and Gamage's Dairy Farm had faithfully served our area for generations. In the Coniad, the
yearbook from our senior year, it states: "Very sincere and friendly . . . Will make some lucky students a fine teacher . . . A good trumpeter." This has proven the thoughtful words in Beth's obituary. She has been one of the finest ladies I have had the pleasure of getting to know, and
has left a legacy beyond anyone's expectations. Now, Beth is busy at the right-hand of God.
Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
Sincerely, Richard Coffin