Eve M. Bither

SACO – Eve M. Bither passed away peacefully on Monday Sept. 30, 2019.A German native of Czechoslovakia, Eve’s life-long passion was learning and education. She attended the University of Frankfurt in Germany before crossing the ocean to study chemistry and physics as a Fulbright Scholar at Smith College in Massachusetts in 1951. There she met her husband Henry, with whom she moved to Maine to establish his veterinary practice. Henry predeceased her in 1996.Raising four children occupied much of her time for the next 15 years. During those years she was also president of the Junior League, was elected the first woman director of a bank in Maine (Casco Bank and Trust), was an active volunteer at Maine Medical Center, the Smith Club, the United Way and the Portland Symphony. Resuming her quest for education after her children were in school, Eve attended the University of Southern Maine from which she received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1969 and a master’s degree in secondary science education in 1971. She did postgraduate work in educational administration at USM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Lowell Polytechnic Institute and then completed work for a doctorate in Educational Leadership, Planning, Policy, and Administration at Boston University.Eve was appointed Commissioner of Education for the State of Maine in 1987 by Governor John McKernan, Jr. As Commissioner, she was on the Board of Trustees for USM and the Maine Technical College Systems. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she served as superintendent in Freeport, assistant superintendent of Portland Public Schools, assistant principal at both Portland High and Jack Junior High, a physics teacher at Deering High and an earth science teacher at Lincoln Junior High.In 1991, Eve was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as acting director of the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination within the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, which served as a bridge between the research community and practitioners in the schools and school systems of the US. In 1996, she was appointed by President Clinton as Executive Director of the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board. She loved her work and time in Washington DC, as did everyone who visited her there. Eve retired in 2000 and returned to family, friends and the family home in Westbrook, Maine.She is survived by her sister Katharina Varney of San Diego Calif.; her children (two science teachers, a physician and a hydrogeologist) Michael, Kathy, Gregory, Ruth and their families; including six grandchildren, Kris, Ruth, Jessica, Matthew, Laura and Nicholas: and four great-grandchildren, Gavin, Garrett, Lily and Keegan, all of whom she adored, most of the time.Relatives and Friends are invited to attend visiting hours for Eve on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, from 4-7 p.m., at Jones Rich and Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland ME, 04103. A funeral service will be held on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at 12 p.m., at Jones Rich and Barnes Funeral Home. A committal service will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery, 207 Rochester St., Westbrook, ME 04092.Please visit Eve’s online guestbook at www.jonesrichandbarnes.com to offer condolences.