Mary E. Poulin, 90: World traveler, local volunteer

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Poulin, 90, of Cape Elizabeth, died Feb. 29.

Despite a life full of challenges, including disabling dementia when she was older, Poulin achieved much throughout her life.

She was born in Augusta on Aug. 17, 1925, the daughter of Henry and Marion (Fairfield) Jobin. The family also lived in Waterville, where she rode horseback on Mayflower Hill, the site of Colby College.

Poulin’s mother died when she was 12 and she was raised by her older sister, Frances, and her step mother, Nora Dow, of Fort Kent. She graduated from Gould Academy in Bethel in 1943. Poulin was an excellent student, skied competitively and was queen of the winter carnival.

She earned a full scholarship to Bates College; however, on the day of enrollment, her father decided that she needed to join the war effort and she instead went to nursing school at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Her stories from that time reflected how personnel shortages during the war put high levels of responsibility on the very inexperienced. Nonetheless, Poulin graduated as an R.N. in 1945.

She married Lt. Col. Frederick Poulin in 1947 and spent the next 45 years living in the Boston area, where she was involved in many charitable causes.  She took up golf and was a member at the Oakley and Winchester Country Clubs. The Poulins also loved to tailgate at Harvard football games.

In 1971, after losing her husband to cancer, Poulin entered the workplace for the first time at the age of 45. She took an opportunity to become an assistant in the Harvard fundraising department, then left to work for Tufts as its director of deferred giving.

For several years, Poulin traveled the country meeting Tufts alumni. She was a member of the Harvard Club of New York City and made several trips to the Tufts campus in Switzerland to meet donors. 

She retired in 1990 and moved to Cape Elizabeth, where she was a trustee of Gould Academy. Poulin traveled to five continents with her friends, Lois and Grace. She played golf at the Purpoodock Club, participated in several bridge groups and supported the Portland Opera by housing many of their visiting artists. She especially enjoyed serving as a gift shop salesperson at the Portland Headlight, at Fort Williams. In support of her grandchildren, she was dragged willingly to many of the prep school and college playing fields around New England.

Poulin was predeceased by her younger brother, Robert Jobin, and an older sister, Frances Jobin Atherton. 

She is survived by her son, Fred, and three grandchildren, Meryl, Jim and Charlie Poulin, all of Cape Elizabeth.

A private burial service is planned. Poulin’s family requests that charitable contributions be considered to Gould Academy, the Belmont Hill School or the Mercy Hospital in Portland.

Poulin

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