GORHAM – Carolyn Beane, a dedicated social worker who was active in the United Methodist Church and helped start a food ministry there, died Sunday. She was 89.

Mrs. Beane began working for the Maine office of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 1963 as a bookkeeper. Part of her job was to recruit young mothers and train them to work in the office.

Her daughter, Elizabeth Beane of Gorham, said Wednesday that her mother taught the young women more than secretarial skills — she inspired them to succeed in life. “There were a couple of girls she really helped get on their feet, who went on to become small-business owners,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Beane’s approach to her work became a blueprint for her life. At the time, she was a single mother of three young children. She was working full time at the society, where she later became an office manager. At the same time, she was studying to become a social worker at the University of Southern Maine.

She enrolled at USM in 1963 and took at least one course each semester until she finished her degree in 1978. She graduated with her daughter, who was in the same program.

Her daughter recalled Wednesday about the years her mother juggled work, school, family. “I remember pulling the chair up next to the counter and helping her cook,” her daughter said. “She taught us to cook when we were little. By the time we were (teenagers), we could cook full meals. We would have supper ready for her. All three of us would do that.”

When Mrs. Beane graduated from USM, she went on to become the patient and family services coordinator for the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Maine office. She traveled around the state providing services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families, her daughter said. “She brought hope and comfort to people,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Beane was remembered by her children Wednesday as a fun and adventurous person, who had a strong faith and a heck of a voice. She began singing and playing violin as a young girl. At age 12, she joined the adult choir at Chestnut Street Methodist Church in Portland.

She sang in the church choir at United Methodist Church on Cressey Road in Gorham until last winter. She also taught Sunday school into her 60s and was an active member of the church’s women’s group.

“She had the deepest faith of anyone I know,” her daughter said. “I was actually envious that she could have such a deep and profound faith. She did more than study the scriptures and pray. She took (her faith) into the world.”

Mrs. Beane was diagnosed with dementia about five years ago.

Her daughter said she will miss her mother’s hugs. “There was just so much love in them,” she said. “I lucked out and got a really good mother. She was a great mother and her love came through in her hugs. I’m really thankful that I had her for 89 years.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]