YARMOUTH – When Carolyn Boothby’s hopes for a brood of girls turned into the reality of three sons and one daughter, she didn’t hesitate to learn the sports that interested them.

“She was the original ‘good sport,’” said her son Richard Boothby III.

Mrs. Boothby, who was one of two girls when she was growing up, was considered “the little lady,” while her sister filled the role of “tomboy,” said her husband, Richard Boothby Jr.

But, raising a family while being outnumbered by boys, she changed her ways.

“If she was going to be the mother of three sons whatever we did, she was going to do,” her husband said. That started with her learning to ski, because he loved the sport so much.

Mrs. Boothby died Saturday. She was 81.

She and her husband met during the freshman picnic at Bates College in 1946. Their 62 years of marriage was a “love affair all these years,” he said.

They started their family in Maine and returned here after they retired, he said, but they moved a lot in the years in between because of his job. “Carolyn adapted well wherever we went,” he said.

In each new home, she put her homemaking skills to work. Her husband said she would change the home decor and add new furnishings. Often, she sewed drapery or bedspreads, some of which her husband has kept for all these years.

Her mastery in the kitchen was greatly appreciated by her family. She turned out a variety of dishes as she studied various cookbooks. Her husband said Mrs. Boothby’s specialty was roast leg of lamb with some type of dessert.

“Strangely enough, I became the cake maker and she was the pie maker,” he said, but he could never get the crust or filling to taste like hers.

“She was very versatile in everything she did,” her husband said, and accommodating as well.

Even though she would get very cold skiing, her son said, “She would always put on a smile and find the best in whatever was happening.”

As she aged and skiing became difficult because of her hip problems, she and her husband transitioned to hiking or climbing.

After one winter of skiing in the Swiss Alps, they realized that the inn where they stayed also catered to hikers. They returned the next fall and spent two weeks climbing mountains and traveling through Switzerland.

“It was the best time we ever had,” her husband said, which prompted more trips to Europe in the years that followed.

When their children asked what the couple would like to do to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Mrs. Boothby suggested a trip to Mount Washington.

“She said, ‘Let’s do what we all love to do so much,’” her husband said. “It was a beautiful fall day, clear, and the foliage was lovely.”

They drove to the summit, hiked around the peak and enjoyed a picnic.

“She was the sort of person who was a joy to have with you on any kind of trip, or at your side for any project, because she was invariably a gentle fountain of positive energy,” her son said.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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