1915 – 2014
BRUNSWICK — Jane Ault Lindholm, 1915-2014, died peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 11.
Jane was smart, funny, generous and kind, an avid reader of classic literature, books of all kind and a prolific poet, if mostly unpublished. A lover of language, she was remarkable in her ability to recite from memory whole poems and lengthy soliloquies. She was a beloved wife, mother (grandmother and great-grandmother), aunt and nurturing sister to her eight younger siblings.
She died at Thornton Hall (assisted living) in Brunswick, where she lived for five years after the death of her husband, Milton. Married for over 71 years, Jane and Milton Lindholm lived for 65 of those years at 12 Nelke Place in Lewiston, near the Bates College campus and next door to Jane’s older sister, Mary Finn, and Mary’s five children.
Jane Bowen Ault was born in Ellsworth on Sept. 1, 1915, the third child (of four) of Charles Ault and Lucretia Leakey. Jane’s two brothers both died as children; Charles at 8 (of diabetes) and William after just six weeks. Jane was 5 when her beloved mother, Lucretia, succumbed to leukemia.
Charles Ault was a successful manufacturer of women’s shoes and his business thrived in the 1920s. Jane grew up in affluence at 14 Cushman Place in Auburn and at the Ault summer home at Morrison Heights in Wayne. She attended Auburn schools and developed lifelong friendships with Eleanor Strauss, Betty Hammond and Ruth Clough. Her father married Ruth Dobson in 1921, and they had eight children together, Jane’s half-siblings: John, Robert, Richard, Ruth, Peter, James, David and Sara.
After graduating from Edward Little High School in 1933, Jane attended Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. That year, however, at the height of the Depression, her father’s shoe business failed. Jane came home to help her stepmother care for her younger brothers and sisters, and enrolled as a day student at Bates College. Jane always said she preferred this time of relative struggle to her affluent upbringing. She developed a powerful, loving bond with her stepmother, Ruth, and her younger brothers and sisters. A Yankee clan, eight of the Ault children settled in Maine. They always found a warm welcome in the Lindholm home on Nelke Place in their comings and goings from Wayne.
Shortly after Jane’s arrival at Bates, her friend, Ruth Clough, arranged a date for her with Milt Lindholm, a senior, captain of the football team and president of the student council — and the popular ditty of the day, “You have to be a football hero to get along with the beautiful girls,” was made real. Jane was a voracious reader and composer of verse as a child, so at Bates she maintained this love of literature as an English major.
Milton and Jane were married in 1938 at the Ault family home in Wayne. Milton was employed selling books for the World Book Co. for six years, before accepting a position in fall 1944 at his alma mater as their first director of admissions for men — and thus evolved his life’s work. He led admissions at Bates for 32 years; the admissions building today is the Lindholm House. Martha was born in 1942 and son, Karl, came along in January 1945.
Jane was a genuine partner in Milton’s career, though she often referred to herself as “Mrs. Tagalong.” Bates College was at the center of their lives. As Martha and Karl grew up, Jane took on a variety of positions at Bates — in the library, registrar’s office and in publications. A grammarian, she was a brilliant proofreader and could spot a typo a mile away.
Jane’s expansive social conscience was given depth and expression in the United Baptist Church, the YWCA and at Bates. She believed in Lewiston and appreciated its Franco-American heritage and industrial history. Her children both attended Lewiston public schools. Jane never learned to drive a car, so she walked or took the bus everywhere, down College and Main streets to downtown Lewiston.
From 1975-76, Milton was given a working sabbatical in his final year as dean of admissions and they lived for eight months in Geneva, Switzerland, visiting and evaluating American and international high schools throughout Europe. They traveled twice to Sweden, the homeland of Milton’s forebears. They also especially enjoyed trips to southern France, with Milton driving and Jane navigating, setting the agenda, making arrangements — and keeping an extensive journal, of course.
Jane is survived by her brothers, Richard, Peter and David; sisters, Ruth and Sara; her daughter, Martha Lentz, of Brunswick; son, Karl and his wife, Brett Millier, of Middlebury, Vt.; grandchildren, Jane Lindholm and her husband, Adrian Hicks, and David, Peter and Anne Lindholm; granddaughter, Sara Perry and her husband, Roger; grandson, John Lentz and his wife, Samantha Cook; and great-grandchildren, Elijah Jackson and Isabella Jackson, Spencer Perry and Micah Perry and Dylan Hicks.
Memorial condolences may be expressed at stetsonsfuneralhome.com.