June 13, 2013

Feature obituary: Mary McCarvel, 90, lived with energetic, generous spirit

Before settling in Maine, Mrs. McCarvel worked for the British Civil Service during World War II and assisted with plans for bombing raids of Germany.

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FALMOUTH - Mary McCarvel used to say, 'If I rest, I rust.'

click image to enlarge

Mary McCarvel on her 90th birthday last August at Dimillo's Restaurant in Portland.

Family photo


Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

She never stopped long enough to find out.

Mrs. McCarvel, known by most people as "Betty," worked in the activities department at Falmouth by the Sea for several years and stayed on as volunteer until she was 87 years old. She died there on Tuesday. She was 90.

In her 70s, she went to work at Falmouth by the Sea assisting the activities director with events and functions at the senior living facility. She performed numerous duties such as leading activities and sitting with residents. Twice, she was recognized with employee or volunteer of the month, which earned her a prime parking space, said her son, Hank McCarvel.

"She was pretty spunky and had a lot of energy," he said. "She liked helping people. She liked earning a paycheck and feeling useful and having a place to go in the morning."

Mrs. McCarvel, a native of England, worked for the British Civil Service during World War II in the Departments of Pensions and Meteorology. Her job was to monitor the weather and assist with plans for bombing raids of Germany.

Her son said she gave pilots the green light to fly. She later worked in the pension department. At the end of the war, she met her husband, Francis McCarvel. They were married on May 22, 1948.

On Sept. 21, 1954, the McCarvels immigrated to the United States and settled in Long Island, N.Y. She was reluctant to go, but agreed to support her husband. Once in the states, he wanted to move back to England, but she didn't budge.

"She liked it here," her son said.

In 1978, the couple moved to Maine and settled in Wells. She worked numerous jobs throughout her life and also raised her son.

When her husband died in 1988, she went to live with her son in Raymond.

Mrs. McCarvel was remembered by her son Thursday as a loving, generous and kind woman, who thought of others before herself. He said she always remembered birthdays for family and friends.

On Dec. 15, 2006, she fulfilled a longtime dream and became a United States citizen. Her son reminisced about the ceremony, recalling his mother holding an American Flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. He recently found the flag in his basement.

"She was very proud of becoming a U.S. citizen," he said.

In recent years, Mrs. McCarvel enjoyed gardening, going out to eat and socializing with her friends. She kept busy until recently, when her health began to decline. In March, she went to live at Falmouth by the Sea.

"She was like my best friend," her son said.

"She was always there for me and I'm going to miss her."


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



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