Josephine Hersey, 77: Passion for teaching literacy

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YARMOUTH — Josephine “Jo” Hersey, 77, died June 12 in Yarmouth.

Born in Long Island City, N.Y. on Dec. 7, 1933, she grew up in Irvington-on-the Hudson, N.Y., where she graduated from high school in 1951.

She later attended Ricker College in Houlton, where she met her husband, Linwood R. Hersey.

They had three children together, Elizabeth Lynn, Joseph Scott and Andrew Jay Hersey.

After she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, she began her teaching career at Mars Hill High School. Over the years she held teaching positions in schools in Saco, Waterboro and Portland.

Later, she received her master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, where she became a member of the literacy education faculty. She was an integral part of the USM summer reading and writing workshops, and also taught graduate courses in literacy.

She had endless enthusiasm for reading and writing, and lovingly transformed many reluctant readers.

It was not unusual for parents and former students to address her in public places, sharing their appreciation and life’s success stories as a result of her work with them.

She dearly loved music, particularly opera, and sang operatic soprano at various functions throughout her life.

In her later years she enjoyed traveling, alpine skiing, collecting antiques and spending time at the ocean.

She was predeceased by her husband Linwood R. Hersey, and a son, Andrew Jay Hersey.

Surviving are two children, her daughter Dr. Elizabeth Hersey of London, U.K., and her son J. Scott Hersey of North Yarmouth; and four grandchildren, Francesca, Sebastian, Cole and Ava.

A memorial service was held last weekend.

Arrangements are by Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal St., Brunswick.  

Condolences may be expressed and at tribute of her life viewed at brackettfuneralhome.com.

Memorial Contributions can be made to the following foundations; Maine Reads at MaineReads.org;  American Heart Association at Heart.org; and the Arthritis Foundation at Arthritis.org.

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