SCARBOR0OUGH – Rinanne Martin-Weigel, a retired teacher at Pond Cove Elementary School who was known for her colorful wardrobe and infectious laugh, died Wednesday. She was 56.

Mrs. Martin-Weigel, known by her friends as “Rindi,” taught second grade in Cape Elizabeth for 20 years. She was remembered by her colleagues Thursday as a dedicated and hands-on teacher who loved her students.

Becky Swift, a reading recovery-literacy teacher at Pond Cove, said Mrs. Martin-Weigel spent hours preparing her lesson plans and looked for ways to bring the subjects to life for students.

Swift said she was a popular teacher who wore bright clothes and had a distinctive, whole-hearted laugh that seemed to travel down the school hallways.

“She always had a smile on her face when those kids walked through the door,” said Swift. “They loved Ms. Martin. She got lots of hugs.”

Julie Robbins, a second-grade teacher at Pond Cove, said Mrs. Martin-Weigel loved being a teacher and made time to know all of her students and their families.

“She loved being with the kids and seeing them learn and grow,” Robbins said.

Mrs. Martin-Weigel retired in 2005. Before teaching in Cape Elizabeth, she taught in South Berwick and South Portland schools.

She grew up in Cape Elizabeth and graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School in 1973. She was married to Peter Weigel for six years.

He said they met at the pool in the Howard Johnson’s hotel in South Portland, and a mutual friend gave them a little nudge to go out. At the time, he was 53 and she was 49. It was the first marriage for each for them.

Her husband said they traveled a lot, and in recent years visited his family in the West, making stops in Los Angeles and San Diego, Las Vegas and Houston.

“She always referred to us as being soulmates,” her husband said. “We had a lot of fun together. She was such a good person. I’ll miss her sense of humor and the fact that she allowed me to be silly. We would get silly together, like a couple of kids.”

Mrs. Martin-Weigel struggled with cancer for the last 19 years or so. Friends said she battled her illness with strength and grace, and inspired people around her. She was active in the Cancer Community Center, where she took yoga and reiki classes and participated in the center’s breast cancer support group.

Swift said many of her friends rallied around her throughout her illness. “Many of us considered her a best friend,” she said. “Rindi was (the kind of friend) you could cry with, and we could laugh together at ridiculous things. She valued her friends.”

Mrs. Martin-Weigel was discharged from the hospital a few days before she died. Her husband said she wanted to be at home, and she wasn’t in pain.

“If it had to happen, it was as good as it could possibly be,” he said. “She just stopped.”

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

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