Ida Owen (Sproul)
Ida S. Owen, 92, formerly of 5 Bedford St., died Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, at MaineGeneral Rehabilitation & Long Term Care at Glenridge, an Augusta nursing home.
Born Dec. 5, 1924, at home on Florence Street in Augusta, she was the seventh of 12 children of John and Susan (Harvey) Sproul. She graduated from Cony High School in 1943 and began four decades of work as a telephone switchboard operator for the New England Telephone & Telegraph Co., working mostly in Augusta. Befitting her experience with the phone company, the telephone – rather than letters or other forms of communication – remained her lifeline to friends and relatives throughout her retirement.
Ida married Joseph M. Owen, also of Augusta, on June 7, 1948. They had four children. Except for eight years in Hallowell in the 1950s, they always resided in Augusta, and spent summers throughout the 1980s and 1990s at their cottage, Camp Refuge, on Cobbossee Lake in Manchester, where they hosted many gatherings of their grandchildren, other family members, and friends.
Raised as a Roman Catholic, Ida attended St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Augusta most of her life. She also was former longtime member of the Third Order of St. Francis, a nonclerical Catholic organization. Later she was active with the local chapter of the Daughters of Isabella, another Catholic group. She talked and read often about saints and other religious figures, and her faith remained the principal focus of her life.
Nonetheless, Ida also made time for cooking, at which she was skilled; gardening, both in town and at the lake; occasional travel, including trips to Mexico, Portugal, Germany, France and Canada; and several camping outings in the 1970s at Baxter State Park, where, as a middle-aged woman, she climbed Mount Katahdin, with no previous experience in such endeavors and no history of vigorous exercise.
In the early 1960s, Ida was treasurer of St. Mary’s Federal Credit Union, a forerunner of today’s Connected Credit Union. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was a volunteer at the polls during elections. More recently, she was a generous donor to the Kennebec Historical Society and attendee of the society’s Kennebec Proprietor receptions. Although mostly at home on Bedford Street for much of her later years, she attended some gatherings of her extended family, and she even renewed her passport and traveled to Montreal in her late 80s to see her granddaughter Margaret performing on stage.
After a dementia diagnosis in early 2016, Ida moved into the Woodlands Senior Living complex in Hallowell, where she stayed nearly a year before her transfer to Glenridge.
Ida’s survivors include son Joseph Owen and his wife, Mary, of Augusta; son William Owen, of Palm Springs, California; daughter Mary Hale, of Windham; grandson Joseph Owen, wife Lisa Owen, and children Lucy and Graham, of Merrimack, New Hampshire; grandson Brendan Owen, wife Anne Matthes, and children Sam, Emma and Hanna, of Kirchardt, Germany; granddaughter Margaret Owen and companion Andrew Lynes, of Montreal, Quebec; grandson Eric Davis; granddaughter Sara Ringold, husband Jonathan, and children Nora and Jameson, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; sister Pauline Marceau, of Livermore Falls; sister-in-law Jeannette Sproul, of Farmington; brother-in-law Dennis Cronin, of Davis, Illinois; and dozens of nephews, nieces, cousins and other relatives.
Ida’s husband, Joe, died in 2009. She also outlived her son David, who died as a baby in 1966; and siblings Lillian, Annie, Doris, Oliver, Harvey, Mary, Jane, Robert, Paul and Katie.
Ida’s family thanks the Woodlands and Glenridge staffs for their attentive care of her during her last 15 months.
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant St., Augusta. There will be no visiting hours. A funeral Mass in her memory will be held 11 AM Thursday, Aug. 10, at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, at 41 Western Ave. in Augusta. Burial will take place after the funeral near the Green Street end of the old St. Mary’s Cemetery in Augusta, at the edge of the neighborhood where Ida lived most of her life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Kennebec Historical Society, P.O. Box 5582, Augusta, ME 04332, or to a charitable organization of your choice.