BATH — Frances Ronelle Bloxam, 79, died at her home on July 5.
Bloxam was born Nov. 25, 1934, in Tremont, Illinois, the daughter of Michael and Mabel Freidinger Beyer. She graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she met and married her husband of 58 years, Richard Bloxam. She later attended classes at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and became a registered nurse after graduating with high honors from the College of DuPage in Illinois.
Soon after the Bloxams’ wedding, the U.S. Army deployed Richard to Italy. Frances sailed alone to join him overseas, despite expecting the couple’s first child. Her love of travel and adventure continued throughout her life.
The couple raised their five children in West Chicago, Illinois. But the family vacationed frequently in New England, and in 1972 bought a summer home in Cundy’s Harbor. In 1989, Bloxam and her husband moved to Bath, and spent many years boating on Casco Bay. They also enjoyed traveling to many countries and motorcycling up and down the East Coast.
As a wife, mother and former preschool teacher, Bloxam enjoyed writing humor and reading to children. Eventually, she pursued a successful career as a writer of children’s books, publishing three titles with DownEast Books: “Antlers Forever!” in 2001, “Little Tom Turkey” in 2005, and “Beau Beaver Goes to Town” in 2009.
“Antlers Forever!” was recently selected to be given to every 5-year-old child in Maine through the Raising Readers program. In response to Bloxam’s death, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement, “Frances Bloxam was a Maine treasure who captured and sparked the imagination of countless children. Her book ‘Antlers Forever!’ is one of my favorite children’s books, and I have read it to countless young students all over our state.”
Throughout her life, Bloxam enjoyed handwork of all kinds. She braided rugs, caned chairs, refinished old furniture, quilted, sewed clothes for her children and grandchildren, and made stuffed animals.
Bloxam is survived by Richard, her husband; her children Jenny Bloxam, Peggy Hodges and husband, Kevin, Paula O’Halloran and husband, Jim, Mike Bloxam and wife, Kim Strosnider, and Amy Totten and husband, Mark; and six grandchildren, Isaiah and Naomi Day, Michael and Emily Totten, and Zach and Zoe Bloxam.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home, 638 High St., Bath, with a funeral scheduled at the home at 11 a.m Friday. A reception in celebration of Bloxam’s life will be held at the family home, 1 Kennebec Circle, Bath, that evening from 5-7 p.m. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to CHANS Hospice Care, 60 Baribeau Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children at stjudesranch.org.