Paula Scolnik, the wife of former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Louis Scolnik, died Aug. 5 at the couple’s home in Andover, Massachusetts, with her husband of 67 years by her side. She was 90.

The Scolniks were married in 1951 and moved to Lewiston in 1952. The couple lived in Lewiston until 2007, when they moved to Andover to be closer to one of their daughters.

Louis Scolnik served as a justice of the Maine supreme court from September 1983 until his retirement on July 31, 1988.

Paula Scolnik, wife of retired justice Louis Scolnick, died on Aug. 5. Courtesy of the Scolnik Family

Her family said that Mrs. Scolnik will be remembered as an accomplished and caring schoolteacher who inspired a love of the arts and literature in her three daughters, her grandchildren and her students at Edward Little High School in Auburn.

Nina Scolnik said her mother raised her children in a “musically vibrant home” that was filled with books, painting, sculpture, and phonograph records.

“She was a protective and intensely devoted mother, instilling in her daughters a deep appreciation and passion for literature, poetry, music, art and dance,” her family said in her obituary. Those influences were reflected in the career paths chosen by her daughters.

Nina Scolnik, who lives in Laguna Niguel, California, went on to become a professional concert pianist, who teaches in the music department at the University of California-Irvine. Another daughter, Julie Scolnik of Brookline, Massachusetts, is a professional flutist who serves as artistic director of Mistral, a Chamber Music Series in Andover and Brookline.

The Scolniks’ third child, Donna Scolnik of New York City, worked as an actress and dancer in New York for 20 years. She is currently a certified yoga and pilates teacher.

Mrs. Scolnik “was extremely well read, intellectually curious, she loved poetry, literature, art and music, to which she exposed her children, creating fertile soil for the development of their imaginations and talents,” Nina Scolnik wrote in an email. “She found and played unusual children’s LP recordings that formed a constant soundtrack to their everyday lives.”

Mrs. Scolnik taught English for many years at Edward Little High, where she founded the school’s first literary magazine, Parnassus. She organized cultural trips that took students outside the classroom to places and venues they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience.

“She loved teaching. She was not only good with the high-achieving students, but those who were not as high-achieving,” Nina Scolnik said.

After she retired from teaching, Mrs. Scolnik worked as a court-appointed special advocate for children involved in child custody cases.

In 2001, when Somali immigrants started to resettle in Lewiston, Mrs. Scolnik devoted her energy to helping them find jobs. She also volunteered in Lewiston’s Adult Learning Program, where she taught English as a Second Language.

“She championed the plight of the outsider and practiced inclusion long before it became part of the diversity conversation,” her daughter said.

The future Paula Scolnik was working at the U.S. State Department as a research analyst in 1951 when she went on a blind date with Louis Scolnik, who was a second-year law student at Georgetown University Law School. They were married that same year.

In 1952, the couple moved to Lewiston, where Louis had grown up and attended Bates College.

Their musical backgrounds mixed well together. Louis, who is 95, said he is a swing musician who still plays clarinet and saxophone. He said that during his judicial career, other lawyers liked to say “this guy is a swinging judge, not a hanging judge.”

Nina Scolnik described her mother as an “independent, strong, no-nonsense and brilliant woman” who served as a “fierce advocate for children, women and human rights.”

“She will be remembered for her uncanny understanding of people, someone who saw in others what they did not see in themselves and empowered them to recognize their inherent unique qualities and strengths.”

A memorial service will be held at the Lanam Club in Andover at 2 p.m. on Aug. 26.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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