PORTLAND – A lifelong nurse who earned the nickname “Super Mom” from her family died Thursday at the age of 70.

Patricia Ciampi, originally from Woodstock, New Brunswick, became a registered nurse 50 years ago after studying at the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing.

She traveled the country for a few years working as a nurse before returning to work at Mercy Hospital, said her son Dr. Michael Ciampi.

It was there she met her husband of 45 years, Dr. Louis Ciampi, who was a young attending physician at the time.

They married Aug. 28, 1965, but before she could say “I do,” Mrs. Ciampi had to pass a cooking test. Dr. Ciampi was the youngest in a large Italian family. their son said.

“My dad’s older sisters were very concerned that their Italian boy was going to starve because he was marrying an Irish girl,” he said.

As a condition of their marriage, Mrs. Ciampi had to learn how to cook Italian food.

“She learned, and in a lot of cases surpassed her teachers,” her son said.

Mrs. Ciampi went on to become an excellent baker as well, Michael Ciampi said. She took classes on cake decorating and honed her skills by making countless cakes, including some for her children’s weddings.

Ciampi described his mother’s cakes as “enormous, multilayered, beautiful cakes.” He said some stood as tall as 5 feet and were elaborately decorated.

“She would spend days doing any one cake,” he said.

Mrs. Ciampi did anything she set her mind to. In addition to cake decorating classes, she took classes on how to re-upholster furniture and offered lessons on how to use knitting machines.

While raising her children, Mrs. Ciam-pi stayed at home. Her son said when the youngest child was in school, she returned to work for her second career.

Mrs. Ciampi spent 20 years working in the University of Southern Maine Health Office, retiring in 2005.

Raised by a physician and a nurse, Ciampi said he and his siblings were inspired by their parents to enter careers centering on health care.

Ciampi is a physician, two of his siblings are involved in pharmacology, one sister is a school psychologist and another is a social worker.

“We learned from our parents’ example how important it was to be compassionate and take care of others,” he said.

It was her gentle, compassionate nature and willingness to do anything for family that earned her the title of “Super Mom.”

“She bristled at it sometimes,” her son said. “She wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or not, but the name fit because she was. She was a super mom.”

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

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