Gael Elizabeth Romei

PORTLAND – Gael Elizabeth Romei passed away Thursday morning, June 17, 2021, in Portland, surrounded by her loving family, after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

Gael was born in Nashua, N.H., on Dec. 20, 1947, to Lois and Thomas Moran. She spent her childhood enjoying time with her twin brothers and her many cousins. She loved to listen to Johnny Mathis with her brother, Herb, and play baseball with her brother, Pete.

Gael was a varsity cheerleader at Nashua High School and had a love for the arts. She majored in education at the University of New Hampshire where she met the love of her life, John Romei. Gael spent her early 20s as a lifeguard in Cape Cod, travelled to Europe with her girlfriends, and attended the famous Woodstock festival (with John). She knew how to have fun!

After college, John and Gael married and moved to New York City, where she began her teaching career in Harlem. While in New York, she developed a love for pottery and obtained a master’s degree in individualized curriculum from City College. They moved to Maine in 1973, where Gael continued to teach, put John through law school, created pottery, and made amazing friends (as she did wherever she went).

Gael and John moved to Downeast Maine in 1975. She spent much of her adult life in Machias. They had two daughters, Jenny and Kate. Gael was an incredibly engaged mother, helping her daughters discover and foster their talents, and never missing a concert, recital, or sporting event.

Gael was an active community member. She served on the school board, the Children’s Program, the Downeast Community Hospital Board, The New England Reading Association, and participated in events like the tambourine toccata’s at the Blueberry Festival.

Gael was a passionate educator. She impacted many children’s lives as an elementary school teacher. She was the office manager at John’s law office, and later followed her passion for children’s literacy, becoming a Reading Recovery Teacher. Gael had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and in 1996 received her Doctorate in Literacy, eventually becoming Chair of the Education Department at the University of Maine, Machias.

Gael and John built their forever home in Roque Bluffs in 2005. Her children and grandchildren loved to visit her in Roque Bluffs. She never missed an opportunity to read to her grandbabies. She captivated them with her amazing ability to bring books to life.

Gael loved people and touched the hearts of all she met. She made pottery, built furniture, and always wrote thank you notes. She loved attending live music concerts with John, where she would always be dancing. She enjoyed travelling and had amazing adventures with her family and friends. She had an infectious laugh and was incredibly grateful for everything she had in life.

Gael is survived by her husband, John Romei of Portland; her brother, Herbert Merrill. Jenny (Jeremy) Hoffman of Baltimore, Kate (Jonathan) Verey of Portland. She was an amazing grandma to Beckett, Morgan, and Jonah.

Details around a celebration of life will be forthcoming. Arrangements are under the direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. To view Gael’s memorial page or to share an online condolence, please visit

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the

Alzheimer’s Association,

383 US Route 1 #2C,

Scarborough, ME 04074

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