March 12, 2013

Feature obituary: Nancy Roberge, 68, longtime SMMC nurse

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – Nancy Roberge, a former longtime charge nurse at Southern Maine Medical Center, who dedicated her life to helping the area's most vulnerable residents, died Friday after a brief illness. She was 68.

click image to enlarge

From left are Richard Roberge, Nancy Roberge, daughter Kellie Roberge, grandchild Camilla Roberge, son Marc Roberge, daughter-in-law Danielle Roberge, stepdaughter-in-law Chrys Roberge, and stepson Timothy Roberge.

Family photo

PASSAGES

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.

Mrs. Roberge began her nursing career at the former Notre Dame Hospital in Biddeford. She went on to work for Webber Hospital when it merged with Notre Dame in 1969. The hospital eventually became Southern Maine Medical Center, where she worked for 38 years.

Mrs. Roberge was a registered nurse, and became a charge nurse on the third floor. She worked mostly with geriatric patients. She retired in 2005.

"She loved taking care of people and she was really good at it," said her daughter, Dr. Kellie Roberge of Chelmsford, Mass. "She used to tell the doctors when they were wrong. They never talked back to her. They respected my mother immensely."

Mrs. Roberge went to extraordinary lengths to help those in need. Her daughter recalled one Sunday morning at church when a parishioner collapsed after suffering a heart attack.

"She flew over the pews," her daughter recalled. "I was little … probably 5 years old. She started checking his heart and screamed in the church, 'Is there a doctor here? Someone call 911.' He lived because of my mother. He came over to my parents' house and gave my mom flowers. They talked for a long time. That's one of hundreds of people she was there for."

Though her career was an important part of her life, nothing topped the love and devotion she had for her husband and their children.

She was a loving wife to Richard Roberge for 43 years. The couple raised two children. She was also very close to his son from a previous marriage.

Mrs. Roberge was remembered by her family this week as an "incredible woman" and devoted mother, who thought of others first.

Her daughter said people came to her for advice, a shoulder to cry on, and to hear the truth about a situation.

"She was everyone's best friend," her daughter said. "She was always happy. She was always concerned about everyone else except for herself. She was always making sure everyone was OK."

Mrs. Roberge and her husband were inseparable, according to her daughter. She described her parents' love as "magical."

She remembered how her mother would make his lunch every day for work and include something special for a holiday or his birthday.

"She would find these hearts that say, 'I love you,' and 'Kiss me,' and she would tape them to his sandwich. They were a perfect fit," her daughter said. 

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

mcreamer@pressherald.com 

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