Judith Marie Nottage

HAMPDEN – Judith Marie Nottage passed on the morning of Sept. 8, 2021 at the age of 79 years after an extended struggle with Parkinson’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. Judith was born March 11, 1942 in Farmington to Marguerite and James Nottage.

Both of her parents and her sister, Marilyn Marshall, predeceased Judith.

Judith is survived by her husband, Norman Thurlow; her daughter, Jennifer O’Hare; her sisters Dorothy Beisaw and Shirley Flynn and her husband Tom; her stepsons Chad Thurlow and his wife Amy, and David Thurlow and his wife Carla; and her grandchild, Ian O’Hare, as well as having been a loving “Grammy” and “Nanny” for Chloe Thurlow, Ben Thurlow and Maxwell Brogoch-Thurlow.

As a young girl, Judith loved books at an early age and would find a secret spot, outside, in a grove of lilacs, hidden from view, so she could read undisturbed. Her passion for reading ultimately shaped her career. Judith was an excellent student, and won several academic awards graduating with highest honors awarded from the Maine Teachers Association and achieving very high National Merit scores.

In 1959, during the summer following her junior year of high school, on a blind date arranged by her date’s sister, Judith first met Norman Thurlow, a first year Engineering Physics student at the University of Maine. She was at a summer job at a resort in Rangeley. Their date consisted of driving to visit her parents in West Farmington and returning, a total drive of about 100 miles. But in spite of a less than exciting first date, a romance developed that lasted until her freshman year at University of Maine. Then, while walking to a concert, Judith unexpectedly told Norman she didn’t think they should go out any more. They returned to her dormitory and did not see each other again for more than 28 years.

Judith returned to the University of Maine for her second year, but departed with her future first husband, during an epic snow storm, to enjoy adventures in Florida, Venice Beach, Calif., and Oregon. Judith and her husband returned to live in Cambridge, Mass., where she completed her undergraduate degree at Boston State College. While sitting with a group of her friends discussing their futures, it was “decided” that Judith should become a librarian. Then, as a single mom, Judith negotiated the challenges of attending classes while working at a school library, and caring for her young daughter, Jennifer. Judith persevered, obtaining her MLS from the University of Rhode Island in 1981 and then accepting a position with the Fogler Library at the University of Maine. Judith was assigned work at what has now become the UMA Bangor campus. Later, she was placed in charge of the library, and by gaining the support of the students and faculty, successfully negotiated several difficult administration decisions, the worst being to close the library and transfer the collection to the main library. However, Judith, with help from the faculty and students, was able to\ prevail and the library was kept open. Judith was especially appreciated for her collection development skills while being forced to work with limited budgets. Under Judith’s guidance, the library flourished as a valuable asset for the university, and upon her retirement, the new library she helped organize was named in her honor: The Nottage Library.

In 1988, Judith was living in a apartment on 5th Street in Bangor with her daughter, Jennifer, when she received a letter that would ultimately alter the rest of her life. After more than 28 years, Norman had written to her explaining that his wife had recently died, and he wanted to know why Judith had broken off their relationship, not wanting to repeat whatever he had done now that he was dating again. Judith was very hesitant to respond, but being convinced by a close friend, she replied trying to recall her feelings on that night long ago. Other letters followed, then phone calls, and ultimately Norman drove from Horseheads, N.Y., on Feb. 14, to once again meet Judith. More visits followed. The relationship grew, and they were married on Nov. 26, 1988 in Judith’s living room with friends and family present. They purchased a home in Hampden in 1989., and after Judith retired from the University, Norm and Judy enjoyed trips to the Outer Banks sharing a beach house with Norm’s sister and her husband, as well as yearly trips to Boothbay Harbor, Cobscook Bay State Park, and her favorite, spots in Rangeley.

Judith’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and Vascular Dementia occurred in December, 2019, just before the pandemic began. Being trapped at home by the pandemic for the following summer robbed Judith of her last opportunity to travel and enjoy life as she had before. To address the effects these diseases had on her quality of life, those who cherished her found many ways to bring her joy. Through audio books, long rides on winding back roads, and colorful birds visiting her windows, Judith was still able to experience moments of peace and pleasure. She received love, support, and care from Loving Touch In Home Care and the family thanks: Adrienne, Alex, Allyson, Amy, Ciara, Donna, Edith, Elizabeth, Jan, Kayla, Kelly, Kristina, Laura, Melinda, Ruth, Sarah, Sharon, Stacey, Tammi, Theresa, Wanitta, and Wendy for the many weeks of loving care and attention they gave Judith. The family also thanks Hospice nurse, Laura, and the Hospice team for the care and support that allowed Judith a peaceful passing.

A gathering to remember Judith, meet her family and friends, and exchange memories and stories will be held at her home at 82 Emerson Mill Rd., Hampden on Sunday the Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Masks will be necessary due to Covid and the presence of young children.

Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com.

The family requests that, if gifts are offered in Judith’s memory, that they be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

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