Sarah Delano always had an optimistic view on life.

“I don’t think she ever viewed failure as an end,” said her daughter Julie Yates, adding her mother always advised, “if (something) wasn’t doing well, that wasn’t a place to stay put. That simply meant there was another door that was going to be open and you had to be ready to take the next option that was offered.”

Ms. Delano died Wednesday, Oct. 27. She was 67.

Having grown up in Gardiner, the Boothbay Region High School graduate went on to earn an associates degree at Chamberlain School of Retailing in Boston. After college, she backpacked across Europe with a couple of college friends. It was on the boat ride that took her from Boston to England that Ms. Delano met Yates’ father, who she married and later divorced.

Ms. Delano returned to Maine after her travels to raise her family. During the 1980s, she owned Sports Etc., a family fitness center in Brunswick. The center provided a place for the whole family to be active together at a time when it was more common for single people to go to fitness clubs or parents to go after work by themselves, her daughter said.

“She was more interested in it being a full family experience,” Yates said. “She was also attracted to the idea of fitness, but not so much competition.”

As the business progressed, Ms. Delano’s focus shifted from physical fitness to balanced fitness, including emotional and spiritual fitness as well.

It was this interest in a holistic approach that led her to close the business and become a certified massage therapist. Ms. Delano took the traditional aspects of massage therapy and modified it for a more holistic approach.

In addition to continuing her work as a massage therapist, Ms. Delano began to concentrate over the past 20 years on various works of art.

“She had a lifelong interest in design and in art,” her daughter said, but up until the 1990s she just dabbled in creativity.

While Ms. Delano did have an exhibit of her work, she mainly created art in peoples homes. She started painting murals for friends, which soon expanded to commissioned work for friends of friends. Yates said the murals she created often were scenes from the Maine coast, including one of the Damariscotta River. Other murals were more spiritual, such as a work inspired by a goddess and female empowerment.

Creating meaningful art was something Ms. Delano always had in mind. When Yates took a job as the dean of students for a small, private boarding school, Ms. Delano called upon family and friends for a gathering. She asked each person coming to bring a bead that symbolized courage and strength, her daughter said. Then, her mother strung the beads together to make a necklace.

“I have this gorgeous necklace, with all these mismatched beads,” her daughter said. “It’s a beautiful piece of art. And each stone, at the gathering everyone gave me this bead and told me what it meant to them in terms of courage.”

Ms. Delano always enjoyed spending time with her six grandchildren and followed what each wanted to pursue.

Two years ago, Ms. Delano went to New Hampshire to stay with Yates and her family for a vacation. She helped her granddaughter Tori Breen create her Halloween costume that year.

“(Tori) wanted to be something from Harry Potter, so they talked it through,” Yates said.

Breen wore a 5-foot creation that was a replica of “The Sorting Hat” from the popular children’s book series.

“I still remember mom saying, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to get it out the door, but it’s going to look great trick-or-treating,”‘ her daughter said. “She was great about being creative with her grandchildren.”

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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