PORTLAND – The idea of a rental car packed to the gills with children of all ages would sound daunting to some. But to Lois Paradise, it was bliss.

Whether it was for ski trips, road voyages or meandering through Europe, Paradise loved having the chance to have all the people she loved in one place on one adventure.

“If I got a wish, it would be to go away on another trip with them,” Jon Paradise said of his parents.

Lois May Paradise of Portland died on Friday at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. She was 82.

It was a vacation that originally brought Mrs. Paradise to Maine.

She was born in 1927 in Little Rock, Ark., and grew up in Lincoln, Neb.

She went on to get a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree from Texas Women’s University.

After moving with her family to Washington, D.C., she met Noel Paradise, whom she married in 1952. They would have five children.

The couple took a trip to Maine together and bought a summer house on Higgins Beach in Scarborough in 1960.

In 1965, the family moved to Maine permanently, eventually settling into a house near the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland.

Mrs. Paradise and her husband taught at the university. She focused on early childhood development and he taught psychology.

It was a busy household, but never so frantic that Mrs. Paradise couldn’t find time for her children, Jon Paradise said.

When he was a paper boy, his mother thought it was good for him to sleep in on occasion. So she and her husband did the paper route, Jon Paradise said.

The family spent the most time together on vacations, traveling across Maine, around the United States and Canada, and through Europe four times.

There weren’t always itineraries, Jon Paradise said. It was often a matter of what they could find in a day.

No matter how long the train, plane or car ride, Mrs. Paradise did her best to entertain her children with stories, her son said.

“I cannot remember a time when we weren’t together,” he said. “It was chaos, but I look back and think those were great times.”

Those trips continued even as Ms. Paradise’s children grew older. As newlyweds, Jon Paradise and his wife traveled with his parents through Spain.

For Mrs. Paradise, the family always came first, her son said.

On Easter, all of the children got poems meant to lead them to hidden baskets. The tradition continued with her grandchildren.

Even as adults, if her children were hungry she would cook them a meal, no matter the hour, her son said.

Ms. Paradise was the catalyst to countless adventures, traditions and, ultimately, memories, her son said.

“I hope I am as lucky to have the relationship with my kids I got to have with my parents,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Justin Ellis can be contacted at 791-6380 or at: [email protected]