SOUTH PORTLAND — If you frequent Mr. Bagel in Mill Creek in South Portland, chances are you knew Norma Doody, a former employee who had an infectious laugh and loved to talk with the customers.

Mrs. Doody, who died on Sunday at age 66, worked at Mr. Bagel for about seven years and was a regular customer there after she retired in 2008.

The employees and some regulars at Mr. Bagel spent Monday sharing memories of her.

Cathy Pennell, manager of the shop, said Mrs. Doody made time to talk with customers, even if there was a line at the counter.

“She knew everyone,” Pennell said. “If she didn’t know them, she knew their relatives. She was such an amazing person. She was so wonderful to work with. She was so good to me and such a good friend.”

She was married to John Doody for 43 years. The couple, who lived at Harbor Place, raised two children, Sean Doody of Durham, N.H., and Edward Doody of Rye, N.H.

Mrs. Doody was remembered by her children on Monday as a compassionate woman who thought of others before herself.

Edward Doody said she was funny and easy to talk to, and was generous with her time, rarely saying no to friends and family in need of help. He said she took care of her parents for a few years, and enjoyed making Halloween costumes and christening outfits for her grandchildren.

“She was generous to a fault,” he said. “Anything that was hers was yours. For Thanksgiving, there was always one or two people in our home that had no place to go. She was the perfect host.”

Another thing that stood out about Mrs. Doody was her appearance. The workers at Mr. Bagel said she dressed fashionably and that her hair was always perfectly styled.

“There wasn’t a hair out of place. Every day Norma walked out of the house, she was perfect,” Pennell said.

Reflecting on her passing, Pennell said, “I cried when I heard the news. I’ve been crying all day. She was so good. It’s so sad. I just don’t understand. She did everything right.”

Mrs. Doody was a two-time cancer survivor. She beat colon cancer when she was 48, and survived uterine cancer when she was 56. In February, she was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, which spread over the past couple of months.

“She fought it and fought it,” her son said. “She truly believed that she would beat it again. She was very optimistic.”

About 25 of her friends and family members visited her Saturday at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. Her son said she had a really good day. He said they played cards that night until 9 p.m. She died Sunday afternoon.

“I’m happy to say that she didn’t suffer,” her son said. “It was so quick. I didn’t expect her to pass so suddenly. I’m happy that so many of her family and friends got to see her. I’ll miss her cooking. She was a great cook. I’ll miss her so much.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be reached at 791-6361 or at: mcreamer@mainetoday.com