Sheila Rollins

HARRISON – Sheila Rollins, 65, of Harrison, passed away in Boston on June 29, 2021. She had been undergoing treatment for Cardiac Light Chain Amyloidosis, a rare heart disease, and died peacefully in her sleep.

“Sheila was the most energetic, motivated person I have ever known”, said Merrill Rollins, her husband of 25 years, “but I think that anyone who ever knew her has probably said the same thing about her at one time or another!” Over the years, that energy has been focused in many directions.

Born and raised in suburban Detroit, Sheila became an entrepreneur almost from the very beginning, selling lemonade and candy bars from a stand on the street (candy bars unknowingly contributed by her mother, Rose). She teamed up with some of the never-ending supply of cousins and neighbors and started a sort of day care / adventure camp operation at the age of 12.

Her high school and college years were peppered with similar adventures and after several false starts, she moved to Boston where she forged her passion for cooking into a job as the first female line-cook at a premier Boston Restaurant, “Sirro and Sal’s”. Several whirlwind years later found her opening “Miller’s Inn and Bakery”, a bread and breakfast / bakery in Bethel, which she operated for several years while taking winters off to work as a chef on private yachts in the Caribbean.

She eventually closed the inn and took a job as a purchasing agent for Northland Telephone Co., simultaneously attending Franklin Pierce College where she attained a bachelor’s degree in business.

During the time she spent in Bethel, she was introduced to flying airplanes by some friends and she developed what was to become a life-long passion for aviation. She got her Private Pilot’s License and, not content to let any grass grow beneath her feet, rapidly progressed through licensing for Commercial Pilot, Instrument, and Instrument Flight Instructor with Multi-Engine, and Float ratings.

Somewhere in there she met Merrill and convinced him that he would be able to keep up with her, so they got married. Their reception included a not-soon-to-be-forgotten Halloween costume ceremony (featuring Sheila as the groom and Merrill as the bewitching “Rolinda”) where all in attendance were in costume. Sheila promptly quit her job and started a series of two-week long, introduction to aviation programs for women only called “Women With Wings”, supplementing her income in the winter with various restaurant jobs including managing “The Train” restaurant for Sunday River in Bethel. Eventually, however, her prior experience in the lemonade stand business came home to roost and she started her signature enterprise, “A Fine Kettle of Fish” restaurant on Sebago Lake. Many of Sheila’s enduring friendships were kindled during the hectic 10 years that “Fine Kettle of Fish” operated and even ‘though the restaurant closed over 12 years ago, there are still people who regularly lament its passing.

Sheila had continued flight instruction during all of this (one of her students is now an airline pilot) and after the restaurant closed, she went to work for Telford Aviation, a UPS sub-contractor, flying freight from Lewiston to Manchester, N.H., three nights a week. The plane was a huge 650 HP turbo-prop Cessna Caravan and at a robust 105 pounds, she had to stow all the freight in the plane herself! After one winter of harrowing flights in snow, rain, and low visibility, she quit that job and, at the age of 50, went back to college on-line and earned a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Counseling was what she was meant to do. Her sessions were intensely personalized, and she cared deeply for her clients, often taking children to an animal shelter so they could walk dogs or putting in a good word with an acquaintance who might give them a job.

Naturally, with so much idle time on her hands, she decided to run for the Maine State House of Representatives and was able to garner 44 percent of the vote in her district. Along the campaign trail, she spoke at the Bridgton Lake Region Rotary Club and realized that rotary actually provided more opportunity to effect change than the state legislature did, and so she stepped up to yet another challenge with her usual gusto. She quickly rose through the ranks to club president, assistant district governor, and district governor, presiding over 40 clubs in Maine and New Hampshire. Through rotary, she was able to champion causes that had come to define her over her life… anti-human trafficking, illiteracy, clean water, the environment, animal rights, and on and on. Sheila was still active while in the hospital, conducting sessions with clients over ZOOM and organizing rotary meetings with the Rotary e-Club she had started. Typical Sheila. That’s just who she was.

Burial was at Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington. Video of the graveside service is available at

Sheila is survived by her husband, Merrill Rollins; her sister, Karen Strange; her stepdaughter, Heather Van Decker and Heather’s sons, Ryland and Colby Van Decker; also, cousins Marc Kern of Palm Desert, Calif., Nancy Goodman of Oceanside, Calif., Ira Freedman of Ormond Beach, Fla., Paul Freedman of West Bloomfield, Mich., Aron Hozman of Cleveland, Ohio, Susie Irwin of Henderson, Nev. and a vast network of the children of cousins all of whom miss her dearly.

If you would like to join us as we celebrate the life of this extraordinary and precious human being on Sept. 22, at the “Bear Mountain Inn” in Waterford, please help our planning by registering at

In lieu of flowers, please donate to rotary in

Sheila’s name at

Hall Funeral Home

165 Quaker Ridge Rd.

Casco, ME 04015

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