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Former teacher Libby Goldman dies at 102

By Rachel Morin

TCT Columnist

Libby Goldman, beloved teacher to thousands of former Walton and Edward Little students and a friend to many more, died January 5 in Lewiston. She was 102.

A Memorial Service for her will be held April 22 in Auburn on what would have been her 103rd birthday. In May 2008, Twin City TIMES ran an article on Libby Goldman’s 100th birthday.

She turned 100 on April 22, 2008. The beloved Edward Little High School and Walton Junior High School teacher was rich beyond measure with the love of friends and former students.

I became aware of her goodness and her love for children when my husband Gerry related how his poor grades prevented him from making the Walton football team. Although he was not her student, Miss Goldman tutored him privately after school. He made the team. He never forgot her kindness and she became his lifelong friend.

After Gerry’s passing, Miss Goldman and I became even closer. I would take her to lunch, concerts, plays and events at Bates College, her alma mater. During one of our excursions, she requested I call her Libby rather than “Miss Goldman.” What an honor that was, and it took some time before I could comfortably call her Libby.

I admired her spirit and independence. A longtime resident of New Auburn, she walked everywhere or took the bus. She knew the bus schedules and the transfer system by heart. The bus drivers watched out for her. When Libby walked, inevitably a former student would be driving by, or see her shopping, and ask if he or she could drive her home.

I attended one of her 100th birthday party at her new residence at Montello Heights. Friends and former students came in a steady flow, much to her delight and amazement. She confided it was hard to believe people would come in such great numbers to celebrate her birthday. She was a magnet for people, as she was interested in everyone and everything.

The highlight of the afternoon came when Bates students Megan Guynes, Lisa Hartung and Elise Lang brought her a 1929 Mirror, the year book from her graduating year at Bates College, then led the guests singing “Happy Birthday.”

Libby responded by singing a song to us in the sweetest way, “Why Do I Love You? Why Do You Love Me?” To me, this reflected her life: the love and kindness she gave to everyone was returned to her a hundred fold.

An independent woman, she always traveled by bus to Massachusetts for holidays. “When I turned 90,” Libby said with a chuckle, “my cousin Fran insisted on transporting me back and forth to Brookline, Massachusetts for Thanksgiving and the Jewish holidays.”

Family meant a lot to Libby. She looked forward to the weekly telephone calls from David, Fran’s son. “What young man in his mid-20s would call an old woman to chat?” she muses.

An avid reader and great conversationalist, Libby was articulate on current local and global issues. I admired the care she took in getting dressed to go places. Always wearing a skirt or dress—never pants—her honey-colored hair perfectly coiffed and her warm, lovely smile. That’s our Libby: a role model for all of us.

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