DIXFIELD — The town lost a talented and professional leader Sunday when selectmen Chairwoman Bettina Martin died at her home on Sugarloaf Avenue.

The board that she has led for the past few years held its regular meeting Monday night, but before it began, a long moment of silence was observed.

“I appreciated her guidance when I first came on board a couple of years ago,” said Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky. “She had a professional quality about herself and always conducted herself professionally during meetings.”

“She was a lovely lady,” he said.

Martin, 73, was well-versed in financial matters and served as treasurer for the town of Farmington and as the owner and operator of a children’s boutique in Farmington. She also worked as an administrative assistant for the former SAD 21 in Dixfield, and served on various committees, as well as a town selectman in Dixfield.

She was not only a fellow board member with Selectman Norine Clarke, but also a good friend.

“I’ll miss her greatly for her insight, her skills and for her as a sounding board for the town and as a friend, and for her dedication to family,” Clarke said. “She’ll be hard to replace.”

“She was dedicated to her family. I feel badly for them. They have lost a strong mother and grandmother,” Clarke said.

Clarke and Martin became friends many years ago, long before either had been elected to the board, because of some trouble in town.

“We worked together and helped move an issue along. If not for that crisis we may not have become friends,” Clarke said.

She declined to identify the crisis.

Martin graduated valedictorian from Wilton Academy and attended Husson College. She is the mother of five children and grandmother to many and was a strong supporter of the Dirigo High School sports program.

The family asks that remembrance gifts, in lieu of flowers, be made to the Football Light Fund, which is an effort to bring lights to the high school’s football field so that night games may be played.

The Dixfield Town Office will close late Thursday morning for a few hours so that employees may attend Martin’s funeral at the Parish of the Holy Savior in Rumford. The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Visiting hours are set for 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, at the Wiles Remembrance Center.

Selectmen at their Monday night meeting decided not to hold a special election to fill Martin’s seat. About five months of a three-year term remains.

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