PHILLIPS — Irene Margaret (Hodsdon) Varney, 86, of Phillips died peacefully at her home surrounded by her daughters, on April 1, after battling cancer.
She was born May 4, 1925, in New York City, to Clarence L.C. And Edna Eva (Demers) Hodsdon. She graduated from Edward Little High School in Auburn in 1944. She was a student of dance: tap, jazz, acrobatics and ballet.
In her teens, she was unable to keep her appointment to tryout at the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes because of appendicitis, a missed opportunity that she always regretted.
In 1944, she married Clayton Varney of Auburn, her high school sweetheart and moved to Phillips in 1946, to be near family. During the next 66 years, she was involved in many organizations. She was a longtime member of the Phillips Congregational Church and its womens’ service group, the Ladies Social Union.
She taught Sunday School as well. As a leader of Girl Scouts at the Cadet level, she attended Edith Macy Training Center in New York. She volunteered at Franklin Memorial Hospital as a Gray Lady.
Before licensure was required, she worked as a practical nurse and was urged to challenge the examinations. Instead, she returned to school in 1964, graduating with a BA in Education from the University of Maine at Farmington. She taught Junior High School for a number of years ending her teaching career with third graders.
Although she got a late start, she taught in the Phillips public schools for 29 years. After her retirement, she attended classes for seniors at UMF, enjoyed drumming lessons, painting with oils, belonged to reading and writing groups, and the Red Hat Society.
Irene is survived by her daughters, Sandra MacMahon and husband, James, of Scarborough, Pamela Smart and husband, Robert, of Winterport and Robin Bundick of Portland; a grandson, Sean Smart and wife, Pamela, of Boise, Idaho; a stepbrother, Russell Worcester and wife, Carrie, of Dixfield; cousins, Joseph Demers and wife, Diana, of Weld, Daniel Demers of Depford, N.J., Gayle Allen and husband, Ken, of Monson, Caroline Burbank of Weld, Marvin and Elizabeth Demers of Nagshead, N.C., and Betty Penland and husband, Arthur, of Leesburg, Fla.
Irene was predeceased by her parents; and her husband of 65 years.