Charlene Strang was a respected social worker for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services who co-founded the former Camden Travel agency and pursued her interests for learning, traveling and playing bridge.

Mrs. Strang, who died on Monday at 95, was remembered this week as a woman who shattered many stereotypes in her day and lived a life with meaning and purpose.

Her daughter, Meredith Strang Burgess, president and chief executive officer of Burgess Advertising & Marketing in Portland, shared stories about her mom Thursday. She posed the question: Can women have it all?

“The answer is yes, you can,” she said. “There is sacrifice in that, but if that’s something you want to do it’s up to you to make that happen. My mother was a very strong-minded and strong-willed woman. She lived life her way.”

She grew up in Madison and graduated from the University of Maine in 1941 with a degree in sociology. A year later, she married her college sweetheart, Walter Strang. Soon after, he joined the Coast Guard and left for training. She returned to Madison and taught history and math.

When World War II ended, the couple moved to Baltimore in 1946. There, she began her career working for the city’s public welfare department, where she handled medical aid for indigent residents. This work sparked a longtime desire to attend law school. Though she did not fulfill her goal of becoming a lawyer, Mrs. Strang became a fierce advocate for Maine kids.

In 1962, she began working as a social worker for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. She was a child custody protective worker, handling adoptions, foster placements and complex divorce custody cases. She helped kids in six counties and testified in nearly every courthouse in Maine.

Strang Burgess said her mother wasn’t afraid to make difficult decisions regarding the placement of a child. In some cases, she recommend against placing a child with his/her mother.

“She was very highly regarded for her in-depth approach to holistic child placement,” Strang Burgess said. “She was really on the cutting edge of that. She did extensive interviews with family members and really tried to come up with the best recommendation for the child. It hadn’t been done to that extent before. It was really quite groundbreaking.”

Some of her recommendations were met with fierce opposition.

“She didn’t cave to anyone,” her daughter said. “She would march herself into court and testify under oath. More than one, two, three or four times someone said, ‘I’ll kill you.’ Growing up, there would be a state police car parked around the corner.”

Following several death threats, Mrs. Strang began learning to shoot a firearm. She regularly practiced at the Thomaston State Prison, where she became friends with several police officers.

Strang Burgess said her mother had a competitive spirit and was a good shot.

“She enjoyed that … breaking the glass ceiling of what was appropriate for women to do. She was proud to do that.”

Another hallmark of her life was co-founding Camden Travel in 1976 with Joan Hardy. The pair ran the travel agency until it was sold in 1990.

Throughout those years, Mrs. Strang and her husband enjoyed trips to places such as Russia, Europe, Alaska, South America, Egypt, Japan and Korea.

“They loved it,” her daughter said. “She was a lifelong learner. Everyplace she went, she wanted to learn and discover.”

Mrs. Strang’s other interest was the stock market.

She read Fortune and Money magazines, and The Wall Street Journal daily.

On the night she died, her son read the newspaper to her.

“She was a different kind of mom,” Strang Burgess said. “She was a professional person. At dinner, we talked about politics and current events, things like that. We weren’t shoppers. We didn’t cook. I don’t know how to cook. Every now and then as a kid, the moms would make cupcakes. … Neither of us could make cupcakes. … She was a professional working mom. She had us and her career.”

A celebration of her life will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at in the Goergetown Parlor of The Highlands Maine Lodge in Topsham.