Freda Mavis (Dodge) Dunn, 92, passed away peacefully at home on May 16, 2023.
Born November 16, 1930, Freda was the daughter of Leonard and Agnes (Sennett) Dodge. She started her full and happy life exploring the blueberry fields and alder swamps of Cooper, Maine with her dogs, Skippy and Tiny. It was there that she developed her love of nature, family, animals, and of course, blueberries. She grew up with her cousins, Maxine and Melvin--two of her best friends, and attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse where she was related to many of her small class. Freda moved often in her childhood due to her father’s work as a carpenter but always considered Cooper her childhood home.
Freda graduated with honors from Calais High School in 1948. She attended and graduated from Washington State Teachers' College in Machias, Maine with her original plan being to only attend one year, then transfer to Portland School of Art. That was before she met Howard Dunn. Their first date ended with running out of gas, walking several miles, and Freda nearly getting a demerit for missing dorm curfew. Fortunately, her housemother knew “that wonderful Dunn boy”-and she avoided getting in trouble. That date was the beginning of their sixty-one years together as they were married in 1951. They started their married life in Castine, Maine as elementary teachers. It was while living there that the first two of their five children were born.
Shortly after, they made another move to Rumford, Maine, where they continued their careers as educators and added three more children to their family. They spent the majority of their married life there, making lifelong friends and memories. In addition to pursuing her career as an educator, Freda enjoyed expanding her self-taught artistic talents by taking painting classes at the University of Maine in Farmington and joining art groups. She enjoyed trying different mediums, whether pastels, watercolors or oils. Always creative, she enjoyed quilting, knitting sweaters for her family, jewelry making, and painting Christmas balls and ornaments, which are treasured by many. When she and Howard retired to Ellsworth, she joined several painting groups and made lasting friendships with her fellow artists. Her paintings were displayed and sold in many galleries in the Downeast area.
Freda was an avid reader and loved relaxing on the porch of her camp with a cup of coffee and a good book while listening to the sounds of the lake. Reading was a passion she passed on to her own children beginning when they were small by reading to them nightly. She was also a trivia buff, often winning Trivial Pursuit to the frustration of others, and she enjoyed challenging herself by doing the newspaper’s daily Cryptoquip and Jumble and cross country skiing with Howard, her family, and friends.
She was thrilled when her family grew with the births of nine grandchildren. She was a devoted grandmother, making terrariums (never afraid to catch a salamander or frog), frying up her morning doughboys, and making other special treats for her grandkids. Her home in Ellsworth, Maine was known as “The Christmas House,” and her whole family had many wonderful holidays there.
In her later years, she lived in Otis, Maine-enjoying days at the lake, time with family, her favorite books and tv shows, and going on sightseeing drives around the coast. She eventually moved to Maryland to live with her youngest daughter, Kathy, and lived there until her passing.
Freda was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Howard Dunn, and her older brother, Ivan Leon Dodge, who died in infancy. She is survived by her five children, Darrell and wife, Adrianne, of Andover, Gerry and wife, Karen, of Skowhegan, Teresa and husband, Gary Giroux, of Laurel, MD., Cindy and husband, Carl Bishop, of Standish, and Kathy Love and partner, Bill Johnson, of New Market, MD. Freda was the proud Grammy of Tyler, Russell, Greg, Chris, Lauren, Matt, Caitlin, Megan and Emily; and great-grandchildren Lily, Maddy, Jake, Mina, Calvin, and Lydia. She is also survived by her brothers-in-law George and Dick Dunn, and their wives, Donna and Peg, who she thought of as sisters. She will be remembered and missed by many nieces and nephews, extended family, and friends.
Freda’s memorial will be held at the First Congregational Church, 2 Church St, Ellsworth, ME 04605 on Saturday, August 5 at 3:00 pm. Both Freda and Howard were supporters of The St. Jude Children’s Hospital, so in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Freda’s name. https://www.stjude.org/ . The family would also love to read your memories of Freda at: https://www.staufferfuneralhome.com.