Renee Leavitt, longtime administrative director of psychiatry at Maine Medical Center in Portland, died Sunday. She was 60.

Mrs. Leavitt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last spring. She received chemotherapy and radiation, but the tumor didn’t respond to the treatment. On Sept. 2, doctors ruled out surgery. On Sept. 7, she found her husband, Randall Leavitt, 64, lying in bed unconscious. He died of an apparent heart attack. The couple’s passing – less than three months apart – has left their four daughters devastated.

“It’s been a pretty awful couple of months,” said Emily Creteau, 34, the eldest of their children. “It’s hard, very hard. We’re feeling like orphans. We’re in our late 20s and 30s and it’s hard not having your parents.”

Mrs. Leavitt was remembered by her daughters as a strong and independent woman who was passionate about her work. She worked at Maine Med for more than 38 years, beginning as an occupational therapist. Over the years, she worked her way up to administrative director of psychiatry.

Creteau talked about her mother’s role at the hospital, saying she supported the development of programs and policies that serve its patients. She said her mother was a strong advocate for the patients and staff.

“She liked the difference she could make,” her daughter said. “She was a very strong leader, so I think that served her well as a supervisor.”

Mrs. Leavitt and her husband moved to Eliot in 1999. They lived in his grandparents’ house, which they renovated over the years. Creteau said their home provided a place for her mother to explore her passions for gardening and entertaining.

“They put a lot of time, effort and thought into the house in making it a place for the family to gather,” Creteau said.

Mrs. Leavitt and her husband were married for 38 years. Creteau talked about her upbringing Tuesday, saying her father stayed home to raise them while her mother worked. Though Mrs. Leavitt’s work was important to her, she was always there for them, Creteau said.

“She was always at our theater events, chorus performances and marching band competitions. She was there for all of that,” she said. “She was a great mom.”

In April, Mrs. Leavitt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Creteau said her mother was hopeful the treatments would work, but that wasn’t the case. After her husband died, she tried another round of chemotherapy, but her body gave out.

“She didn’t want to stop fighting,” her daughter said as she reflected on a future without her parents. “We’re focusing on the positive things. My younger sister is getting married. … We are planning our next adventure. We’re going to keep going on with our lives and do things that make us happy.”