HOLDEN - Sheila G. Varnum, 78, died December 19, 2018 at home in Holden, after a five year battle with ovarian cancer. She was born May 11, 1940 in Oswesrty, Shropshire, England, the daughter of Grace W. Beddow. At the age of six, she, her mother and two year old brother, Gailen, came to America, settling in Blue Hill.
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After a period of hard times, her mother met and married Lester Pettengill. Sheila and Gailen became a part of a blended Pettengill family to which a brother, Rodney, was born to that marriage.
Sheila was educated in the Blue Hill system and graduated from George Stevens Academy. She also completed a course of study at the Golden School of Beauty Culture in Portland.
She married Donald Varnum, July 5, 1959. They had two children, Randall and Lori. She was a "stay at home mother" with their children until they were school age. Then she was hired as a cook at Holden School, becoming the cook manager. She was known for baking mouth-watering yeast bread and delicious meals for the children and staff, retiring with 26 years of service.
She was well known as "the pie lady", making pies for anyone whom she thought needed an unsolicited gift. She made prize winning pies for the Blue Hill Fair and the local churches. She always made a pie for desert when she and Don had friends for dinner.
She became a naturalized citizen May 10, 1965. She was thrilled to be able to vote and never missed an opportunity to do so. She had an amazing ability to recall names of people, places, and events that happened, even years ago relating to her early years in England. Rarely did she miss sending a birthday, anniversary or get well card to a friend.
She is survived by her husband, Donald; daughter, Lori Parenteau, her husband, Richard; grandchildren, Amanda and Alexander; daughter-in-law, Lauri; granddaughter, Victoria, her husband Dan Lerback; great-grandaughter, Ankia; brother-in-law, Royce and his wife, Margery, and son, Cody, his wife, Melissa; brother, Rodney Pettengill, his wife Rania, son, Aaron, and his wife, Jenny; members of her blended family, Betty Dill and Joan Pettengill; aunts, Gwen Suckley, Phyll Beddow; many cousins and their families in England, many friends including, Drucy, Elaine, Sally, Olive, Virginia, and a long list of others whose lives she has touched.
She was predeceased by her mother; son, Randall; step-father, Lester; brother, Gailen; members of her blended family and many relatives in England.
The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the Community Health Care and Counseling Service Hospice (CHCS) for the wonderful care that Sheila was given under trying circumstances. They tended to both her medical and spiritual needs along with those of the family. They were a blessing.
Graveside services will be conducted at Rural Cemetery in Sedgwick, ME on May 11, 2019 at 1:00 PM with a reception to follow at the South Blue Hill Town Hall.
Those who wish to remember Sheila in a special way may make gifts in her memory to CHCS HOSPICE, 42 Cedar Street, PO Box 425, Bangor, ME 04402-0425. Or to the Salvation Army, 65 South Park Street, PO Box 1101, Bangor ME 04401. Condolences to the family may be expressed at Memorial-Alternatives.com