BOWDOIN — Mary L. Young, 97, was called home by God on Wednesday, May 24, at her home with loving family and friends by her side and a smile on her face. She saw her husband and son-in-law pass on this same day in 1989 and 2013.

Mary was born on Jan. 20, 1920, at the family homestead in Bowdoin, to Harold James Wallace Small and Susan Morse Wright Small. She is the oldest of nine children. Imagine the stories you could hear at the round table.

In 1938 she married S. Lewis Young and together they had three children, Shirley Young Harmon, Bradley Young, and Larry Young. She raised these children alone for an entire year in 1944 with no running water or transportation when Lewis was in the military. Strong does not begin to describe the woman she was.

Mary worked in the office at the Farnsworth Mill for a short time and at various shop places, but most of her life was dedicated to her family. She was a member of the Bowdoin Center Baptist Church and was baptized in the Kennebec River in 1968 by Rev. Mason. She was a member of Sagadahoc Grange, the Bowdoin Historical Society, and was a widow of Village Lodge #26. She was the president of the Bowdoin Center Cackle Club for 19 years. Most people would agree that she was the pie queen of Bowdoin, often times making up to six pies a day for birthdays or events, all with her homemade crusts. Pies were her passion and she continued making them until a week before her death. When someone was sick or troubled they could always look forward to chicken soup, shrimp wiggle, or any special dish that was their favorite, and a pie for dessert.

Being alive for almost 100 years means you see a lot. She lived through most of what kids are taught in history books today: the Depression, countless wars, dirt roads, horse-drawn transportation. Along with all the joy she experienced there was suffering, too. She lost her son, Larry, in a bicycle accident in 1956 when he was 12 years old. Her grandson passed in 1969 at eight years old. Lewis died in 1989 of cancer just after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and she has lived on her own since. She has persevered and weathered any and every storm thrown at her and still always had a smile, an encouraging word, or a hug for a person in need. She would never meddle, just wait for you to come to her.

She never missed a family birthday, memorializing with either a pie or a favorite meal. She bought and organized 60 gifts for Christmas, most recently organizing a tea party for her young great-great-granddaughters who helped her wrap those presents. I’m sure this is a memory they will never forget.


This past April, at 97 years old, she attended her first Shrine Circus and was beaming when the Ringmaster shined the spotlight on her and introduced her. She was approached by a Kora Klown asking if she would like to be shot out of the cannon. “Oh, hehe, I don’t think so today.”

Whether you called her Mother, Mama, Gram, Ma, Mary, Sister, Aunt Mary, or Friend you loved her and she loved each of you back twice as much. There was always enough love in her heart for anyone who wanted it. She loved equally and fairly, never choosing favorites. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and will continue to be for years to come. Don’t cry because this life is over; smile because it happened.

Mary leaves behind her daughter, Shirley Young Harmon; her son, Bradley Young and wife, Evelyn; her siblings, Evelyn Tremblay, Laura Owen, Harold Small Jr. and wife, Ethel, Faye Davis, Alberta Greenleaf, Patricia Elwell and husband, Ranleigh; eight grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; 25 great-great-grandchildren with two more on the way; and family and friends too many to list individually.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband; her son, Larry; her son-in-law, Vernon Joseph Harmon; her grandson-in-law, John Vear; her sister, Helen Buttrick and her husband, Bruce; her brother, Joel Small; and her brothers-in-law, Ludger Tremblay and Maurice Owen.

The family would like to thank Dr. Burns and Dr. Maher for their exceptional personalized treatment over the years. And a huge thank-you to CHANS Hospice staff and the countless family and friends that helped Gram be able to stay at home through her end of life transition.

Mary L. Young

Share your condolences, kind words and remembrances below. You must be logged into the website to comment. Subscribers, please login. Not a subscriber? Register to comment for free or subscribe to support our work.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.