Deborah Lynn McAfee

WINDHAM – Deborah Lynn McAfee was born on March 28, 1958, and died on May 18, 2022 after a long battle with cancer.

Deb grew up in Portland and attended public schools, graduating from Deering High School. She attended the University of Maine at Farmington, and graduated with a degree in home economics education. She went on to earn a graduate degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine. She worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in several Maine public middle and high school districts.

Her first teaching job was as a home economics teacher at the Maine Youth Center. She taught at Mahoney Middle School in South Portland, and then began her career as a school administrator. She was an assistant principal and principal at schools in Mountain Valley, Medomak Valley, Waterville, and eventually Windham.

She was a hard-working, disciplined, fair-minded leader in school administration, guided by her common sense, practicality, and ability to bring people together. She was devoted to her students, staff, and coworkers, and greatly valued the importance of education. She was an engaged and visible assistant principal and principal. She regularly attended many games, sporting events, concerts, plays, and student activities – supporting students at all levels. She knew her students and staff well, and would often recognize them in personal and thoughtful ways. As principal at Windham High School, at the annual senior banquet she would pay tribute to each of the students in the Top Ten with the gift of a children’s book that embodied a trait or experience specific to each student. She remained dedicated to her school and community, and attended many events even after her retirement.

Deb had endured her illness and treatment for more than 20 years. Though dealing with her medical issues, she continued working as much as she could until her retirement in 2018. Her determination and positive outlook helped her enjoy a full and rich life.

Deb was very civic-minded and involved in several community organizations, including as a Board Member of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors. She was generous and always willing to help others. She loved to garden, attend flower shows, and visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Her own home garden features many irises, her favorite flowers. She was an avid reader, and enjoyed attending plays at Portland Stage. She was a member of the Farnsworth Art Museum, and especially loved Wyeth exhibits. Her favorite Jamie Wyeth print was fondly displayed in the center of her home.

She loved animals and family pets, especially Scottish Terriers. Over the course of her life, she owned three well-loved Scottie dogs: Fraser, Blue, and Cameron.

Deb was a talented quilter and seamstress. She sewed many clothes, home furnishings, holiday decorations, beautiful quilts, and Halloween costumes for her nieces and nephews. Some of her final sewing projects included a Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt for her great-nephew Calvin, and bright and colorful pillow cases to be used by patients at the Maine Cancer Center while they are receiving care and treatment.

Most of all, Deb loved spending time with friends and family. She had several lifelong friends, and was always well-known in any community where she lived and worked. She took great care to make each holiday and special occasion fun and memorable. At Deb’s invitation, attending the holiday Windham Chamber Singers concerts was a family tradition. She hosted and organized an annual family lobster bake at her home in Windham each July.

Deb had been very close to her beloved mother, Doris Coburn McAfee, who died in 2020.

Deb is survived by her father, Robert E. McAfee M.D. of Portland; her brother, Steven McAfee M.D. and his wife, Lisa McAfee of Wayland, Mass., her brother, Robert McAfee and his wife, Tammy McAfee of New Bern, N.C., her sister, Patricia McAfee of Windham; her nephew, Eric and his wife, Lindsay, her nephew, Riley, her nieces Ailsa, Bailey, and Anna, her niece, Emily and her husband, Chris, her niece, Mary and her husband, Trace; her great-nephews Jacob, Levi, Jude, and Calvin, her great-niece, Juniper; and several aunts, uncles, cousins, and members of the McAfee and Coburn families.

Deb was the granddaughter of Charles and Margaret Coburn of Brownville Junction, and Harold and Elizabeth McAfee of Portland, all of whom are now deceased.

As an educator, Deb respected, cared for, and valued her students as if they were members of her own family. Deb will be warmly remembered for her sense of humor, her strong work ethic, her integrity, and the decency she showed to others. Deb’s smile, laugh, spirit, and generosity will be greatly missed but always treasured by her family, friends, and many people who knew her.

In recognition of her career and accomplishments, Deb received several honors. The Town of Windham proclaimed April 12, 2001 as Deb McAfee Day due to her dedication to her students and contributions to Windham schools. On her retirement on May 14, 2018, the State of Maine legislature recognized Deb for her 38-year career in public education, including 14 years of service in Windham.

A memorial remembrance for Deb’s life is being planned for a future date.

In lieu of flowers, her family respectfully requests that donations be made in Deb’s honor to:

Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors


P.O. Box 1956

Windham, ME 04062

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