Doctors told a woman who had been shot in the arm that there was nothing they could do to rehabilitate her hand, which had become so impaired it became clenched in a claw-like position.

The victim of a hate crime, she had no hope of using her hand again, until she met Jean Hoffenkamp, a well-known massage therapist and second-degree Reiki practitioner from Kennebunk.

“She worked with the woman and Jean fully restored her arm (and hand). She had a gift for touching people and sensing what was wrong,” said her close friend Maureen Gill of Kennebunk.

Ms. Hoffenkamp died June 29 of renal carcinoma, just over a year after being diagnosed. She was 66.

Born in Chicago, she was named Anne Jeannette Hoffenkamp but everyone knew her as Jean during her adult years.

After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in sociology, she worked in the Chicago area for several years as a social worker. Gill said her friend “burned out” as a social worker and went to work for an insurance company. She spent 24 years in that business.

In 1996, Ms. Hoffenkamp attended the Wellness & Massage Training Institute of Chicago, where she became a licensed massage therapist.

“It was one of those dramatic life changes,” Gill said.

More life changes were headed her way.

She came to Maine to visit her niece and “fell in love” with the state. Ms. Hoffenkamp and her husband, Franklin James “Jim” Harte, moved to Kennebunk in 1997. He later died.

She went on to establish a thriving massage practice in Kennebunk, where she lived and worked for the past 17 years.

Gill, who is a professional writer from the Chicago area, met her friend during a stay in Maine. Gill decided to remain in Maine and the pair became best friends.

“She was one of the most generous people I ever met,” Gill said.

Gill described her friend as a brilliant, vibrant woman with a passion for social and economic justice.

Ms. Hoffenkamp wasn’t afraid to express her political views, describing herself as a progressive Democrat, feminist and liberal. During her years in Chicago, she became an expert on wage bias against female workers. She testified on that issue to Congress as well as the Illinois State Assembly.

In Maine, she supported several causes, including the York County Shelters and Food Pantry in Alfred, the New School in Kennebunk and the Animal Welfare Society of York County.

Gill said Ms. Hoffenkamp founded Save Our Water, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Maine’s resource. The group’s mission was to educate the public about the value of protecting water supplies, especially in the towns of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells.

“She was opposed to the large-scale extraction of Maine water for resale,” Gill said. “She felt it was unethical and immoral.”