1928 – 2016

LEWISTON — Birgit Svane Libbey, 88, of Lewiston died Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, after a brief illness.

The daughter of Paul and Ingeborg Svane and sister of Marjorie Svane, she was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and brought up in Islip, N.Y. She attended Bates College, majoring in English literature, and after graduation worked as a lab technician at a unit of Miller Industries in Lisbon, and then at Bates Manufacturing in Lewiston.

She married Paul Libbey of Lewiston in 1951 and they raised seven children. Birgit worked for a time at the Lewiston Sun-Journal and was also organist of St. Joseph’s Church for many years; music and musical instruments were a passion of hers. A devout Catholic, she found deep comfort and meaning in her faith.

She was an accomplished amateur painter and an avid photographer, a capable solo sailor who made frequent forays into the waters off Harpswell, and a gardener who enjoyed a very informal gardening style. She loved and cared for animals, and as she adopted one skeptical feral cat after another, she transformed them into loving pets. She had a distinctive sense of humor, a warm, good-natured outlook, and a strong independent streak. She was lighthearted, sweet and gracious and could enjoy good long conversations with all. She did not like to criticize or condemn, supported the underdog, and simply did not speak ill of anyone.

She  is survived by her husband, Paul of Lewiston; four sons, David of South Carolina, Mark and daugher-in-law, Carolyn, of Lewiston, Robert of Lewiston, Peter and daughter-in-law, Kaylinda, of Wayne, and their children Matthew, Rebecca and Scott; and daughter, Ruth of Cambridge, Mass.

She was predeceased by her sons, Stephen and Paul.

Condolences and donations may be found online at www.albert-burpee.com.