WISCASSET – She aspired to become a teacher one day, and she did even though her career lasted only a short while.

For most of her adult life, Susan Buccina would cope with a disease that would grow progressively worse.

Mrs. Buccina died Friday at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick after a 30-year struggle with multiple sclerosis.

A longtime resident of Shady Lane in Wiscasset, Mrs. Buccina was 58.

“She never gave up. She was always helping other people, and she always thought of herself last,” said her husband, Robert F. Buccina.

Mrs. Buccina grew up in the western Maine town of Rumford, graduating from Rumford High School in 1970.

After graduation, she enrolled at Farmington State Teachers College, working at the former Mammoth Mart to help pay for her tuition and other college expenses.

“She worked as a cashier and office manager,” her husband said.

She graduated from college in 1974 with dual degrees in education and home economics.

Robert Buccina had just gotten out of the Air Force when he met his future wife, who was in college at the time.

“I liked her smile,” he said. “She was always smiling.”

The couple married on Aug. 10, 1974. They moved to Bath, where they lived for about four years.

During that time, Mrs. Buccina took a teaching position at the Fisher Mitchell School, an elementary school in Bath. She taught there for about a year.

In 1978, they moved to Wiscasset.

Her husband remembers the first hint of a medical problem.

The couple had studied books on how to build a house and were in the process of building a home in Wiscasset when Mrs. Buccina, who was standing on their new home’s foundation, had trouble getting down.

“We knew then that something was wrong,” her husband said.

They finished building their five-bedroom home together, Robert Buccina got a job at Bath Iron Works, and they had their only child, Stacie M. Buccina.

But, in 1980, Mrs. Buccina was diagnosed with MS.

MS, a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, afflicts about 400,000 Americans, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website.

It causes a person’s immune system to attack that person’s healthy tissue, according to the MS Society. It can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech and tremors, to name a few symptoms.

“Her left side was the first to go,” said her husband, who helped care for her along with other family members. “It eventually took over.”

He said his wife served as an inspiration to him and to anyone who met her.

“She never complained, and she accepted what had happened,” he said.

On her last day, Mrs. Buccina was on oxygen. Her husband was at her side, as he had been for the past 30 years or so. He leaned toward her and spoke.

“I told her that I loved her,” he said.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National MS Society, Maine Chapter, P.O. Box 798, Portland 04104, Attention: Research.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]