Donna Lorraine Hilleboe DeMuth

PORTLAND – Donna Lorraine Hilleboe DeMuth died peacefully in the loving company of her children on June 7, 2020. She was 92 years old. She is remembered as a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, friend, family therapist, avid learner, voracious reader, teacher, writer, swimmer, gardener, skilled conversationalist, world traveler, and fumbling pianist with a rich if warbling alto voice. Her family affectionately referred to her as “the matriarch,” a title that captures both her presence and strength of personality as well as her fierce love and devotion to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Donna was born on the fourth of July in 1927 in Bronxville, New York, to Guy L. Hilleboe and Mabel (Tronnes) Hilleboe, both of whom were second-generation Norwegian immigrants. Throughout her later years, Independence Day was often paired with a family birthday celebration at her beloved lakefront home in Norway, Maine. Her parents instilled in her a love of learning, a devotion to community service, and the importance of family. She lived these values fully. Donna was valedictorian of her high school class in Rutherford, New Jersey at the age of 16. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College (’47) and attended Case Western Reserve University (’49), where she received her Master’s in Social Work and met Navy veteran Donald DeMuth. Don and Donna were married on July 16, 1949 and settled in Aurora, Ohio, where Don served as a senior executive at Beechbrook Children’s Home in Cleveland. In 1966 they moved to Portland, Maine, where Don became head of Children and Family Services and Donna began to expand her family therapy practice after training at the Cambridge Family Institute in Boston. As a mother and wife coming of age in the post-war era, she forged her career and defined her personal life with little support from the pre-feminist world around her. Donna was deeply proud of her professional accomplishments, which included a thriving clinical practice, numerous awards and professional association memberships, and published writings – culminating in the publication of The Global Family Therapist (Allyn and Bacon, 1993), which she co-edited with Benina Berger Gould. Donna was a founding member of the Smiling Moose Family Therapy Alliance and a charter member of the American Family Therapy Academy. She maintained a lifelong passion for social justice issues including civil rights, women’s rights, anti-war movements, opportunities for underserved children and youth, and defining the role of social workers in supporting families through social upheavals including nuclear and environmental threats. In 1989, Donna took the first of many retirements, moving from the home and counseling office she built with Don in Falmouth, Maine, to the lakefront cabin they built on Sand Pond in Norway, Maine. She remained active professionally into her 80s with her private practice, consulting with local family service agencies, and as an instructor at UNE. In 2007, she and Don began splitting their time between Norway and Englewood, Florida, where she became a proud and happy member of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Venice and an instructor at the University of Southern Florida Senior Academy. In 2016, Donna moved into 75 State Street in Portland, a senior residence where she lived her last few years heartily, happily, and feeling well cared for. Her proudest achievement was undoubtedly the large, loving, and close-knit family she raised with Don: daughters Barbara DeMuth Clark (Cumberland), Jodi DeMuth (Wells), and Nancy DeMuth (Marblehead, Mass.); son, Michael DeMuth (Yardley, Pa.); “outlaws” (sons and daughters-in-law) Stephen Clark, Earl Whitfield, Patricia Sullivan, and Robbin Gibilisco DeMuth; grandkids Kristofer, Alia, Mischa, Emily, Caitlin, Michele, Ryan, Kathryn, Julia, and Jenna; and great grandchildren Miles, Sophia, Samuel, Finn, Owen, Cormac, Maeve, and Madison (and two more on the way). She is additionally survived by her sister, Inga Schmidt of Ann Arbor, Michigan and predeceased by her husband, Don. Due to current restrictions on gatherings, the family will be postponing a formal memorial service until 2021. To our beloved Grammy: We’ll see you at Hart’s. Please visit http://www.coastalcremationservices.com to view Donna’s Tribute Page and to sign her online guestbook.In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Norway Lakes Association or to progressive Democratic candidates at the local, state, and national levels

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