SCARBOROUGH – Lisa Ballou’s family held hands around her bedside Saturday night at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough as a priest performed the sacrament of baptism.

She wasn’t a deeply religious person, but she believed in God and wasn’t afraid to die, said her boyfriend, John Torpie of Scarborough. He said Monday that she wanted to be baptized “to make her feel whole.”

“We were there, holding her hands throughout the night and kissing her,” Torpie said. “For every dozen times I kissed her, I told her in her ear that it was OK to go.”

Ms. Ballou died early Sunday after a long and valiant battle with breast cancer. She was 42.

Ms. Ballou was remembered by her family Monday as a strong, intelligent and confident woman who lived her life to the fullest as she fought Stage 4 breast cancer.

She was a cash manager at Iberdrola, the parent company of Central Maine Power Co., for the past seven or eight years. At the same time, she was pursuing her master’s degree in finance at Southern New Hampshire University. Torpie said she loved her work.

“She loved the responsibility,” he said. “She balanced a big checkbook and made sure there was enough money in the account to pay everyone. She loved it. It sounds cliched, but she loved her co-workers, too.”

Ms. Ballou met Torpie about four years ago. He was her building contractor. He said they were friends at first and later fell in love.

“She didn’t read the fine print on her contract,” he said, jokingly. “I knew about (her cancer) when I entered the relationship with her. It didn’t make any difference to me. I didn’t love her for her hair. She was my best friend. Instead of planning her funeral, it would have been better to be planning a wedding.”

The couple had two black Labrador retrievers.

“She absolutely adored them,” he said. “Every year, the four of us put on little party hats and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the dogs and gave them frozen dog treats. The dogs loved it.”

Ms. Ballou was the daughter of Barbara Parker of Florida, who was at her daughter’s bedside at the time of her death.

“They were extremely close,” her boyfriend said. “She was very devoted to her mother. They talked almost every day.”

She is also survived by her brothers: Ed Parker of New Hampshire, Steven Fowler of Oregon and David Parker of California. She leaves a sister, Lauren Pierce, of New Hampshire, and her grandmother, Marion Wing, who is 105½ years old.

“I was given explicit instructions to use the half in her obituary,” Torpie said, noting Ms. Ballou made instructions for what she wanted after she died. Ms. Ballou will be buried in jeans and a white T-shirt, wearing the fleece that her boyfriend gave her for Christmas with his company’s logo on it.

“She was such a supporter of what I was doing and that meant so much to me,” Torpie said. “It was love and loyalty. It’s that simple. She was easy to love and she loved easily. It was an honor and a privilege. Her life was cut well too short, but it was so lived and she left in peace.”

On the morning she died on Sunday, it was 45 degrees outside with clear blue skies.

Just minutes after she died, Torpie walked outside with Ms. Ballou’s brother, Ed Parker, and looked up toward the hospice center and saw two birds flying together. Ms. Ballou believed that when she died, she would be reunited with her father, Robert Parker, who died in 1987.

Torpie believes it was them. “They were flying together so gracefully in harmony,” he said. “I knew right then that everything would be OK. I just felt this peace and warmth inside. I just knew. Lisa, her mother … life will be okay.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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