MADISON — Fourteen fire, rescue and police vehicles from around Somerset County stood guard over a graveside service Tuesday afternoon to honor a woman described as a community leader.

About 50 emergency workers and 200 family members, friends and town officials gathered at Forest Hill Cemetery to celebrate the life of Donna Lightbody, 63, a lifelong resident of Madison.

Lightbody, who died last Thursday of a stroke, was president of the Madison Fire Department Auxiliary for about 14 years; a foster mother to more than 35 children, including some with disabilities; a leader in Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts; a ballot clerk; the Red Cross representative for the town; the organizer of the fire department’s haunted house; a member of the town’s advisory board; and a worker in school cafeterias.

Her husband, Roger Lightbody Sr., 64, is the town’s fire chief and Somerset County Emergency Management Agency director. Her oldest biological son, Roger Lightbody Jr., 44, is a firefighter and is the town’s emergency management agency director. Her daughter, Robin Ricker, 42, is a former member of the auxiliary. Her youngest son, Jody Lightbody, 38, is deputy chief of the fire department.

At the graveside service, Donna Lightbody was described as a “living example of love,” a “true giver” and the “glue” that held together her family, the fire department and the auxiliary.

“She was a huge part of the community. Everything she did, from the fire department, to the haunted house, to the class reunions, to, you name it, the elections – she did everything she could. She’d go up and chat with people in the town office just because,” Ricker said.

Triss Smith, a bookkeeper for the town, said she worked with Donna Lightbody when she was a part-time clerk at the town office.

“She’s just an amazing individual. She was upbeat and very active in the community,” she said. “She was a good friend to everybody in (the town office).”

Roger Lightbody Jr. described growing up in a house that was full of children – ranging from infants to teenagers – who were foster children, friends, neighborhood youths or children she was baby-sitting.

“She was the mother to a lot of people,” Lightbody said. Even his friends called her “Mom.”

He described her as a loving, supportive presence who extended her support beyond her family, to her community.

That support was plain Tuesday when employees of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and fire and medical personnel from Madison, Anson, Starks, Skowhegan, Norridgewock, Fairfield, Industry and Cornville filed past her grave during the service, while bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”

She and her husband had known each other for 50 years and been married 45.

“There’s only one way to describe her, and that’s ‘loving,’” Roger Lightbody Sr. said.

“She’s not only my wife, but my best friend. No doubt about it. We’ve done everything, and I mean everything, together. Very, very, very rarely that we ever did anything separated.”

About 13 years ago, she helped raise $25,000 for the fire department to purchase the first thermal imaging camera in Somerset County, he said. She planned to raise the money in two or three years.

“It was done in less than six months. She reached out, got results and made things happen,” Roger Lightbody Sr. said. “She definitely was a fighter, and she was not afraid to speak up for what she believed in. Usually when she spoke, everybody listened.”


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