Elizabeth Menzies Stenberg, 75: passionate about antiques, volunteerism
BRUNSWICK — Elizabeth Menzies Stenberg, 75, died Aug. 19 at her home in Brunswick after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Stenberg was born in Boston on Oct. 22, 1936 to Mildred and James Menzies. She grew up in Cambridge, Mass., where her father was a printer at Harvard University Press.
Stenberg attended Tufts University as an occupational therapy student for three years. While there, she met John Stenberg, and after graduating, they were married on June 16, 1957. They honeymooned at the Tufts Mountain Club lodge near Plymouth, N.H.
After the couple moved to Groton, Conn., their first child, Kristen, was born in 1958. Their second child, Jeffrey, was born a year later. The family moved to Nashua, N.H., in 1960 and a third child, James, was born in 1962.
Stenberg went back to college and earned her degree in early childhood education in 1975 from Fitchburg State College. But in 1976, she and her husband decided to quit their “real jobs” and buy a small hardware store in Cornish. Stenberg was responsible for keeping the store running efficiently and helping her husband manage the business. She enjoyed helping customers select products, especially in the store's gardening and decorating sections. Stenberg became a licensed realtor in New Hampshire during this time as well.
After the sale of the hardware store to a local family in 1985, Stenberg started an antiques business known as Black Cat Antiques and frequently traveled throughout New England and as far away as Kentucky on buying trips. She was well-known for her unique offerings of folk art, textiles and primitive works, which she sold in group shops and at weekend shows.
In 1994 the couple decided to leave their beloved lake house for a more suburban life in Cumberland. Stenberg returned to the real estate business full-time with Barbara Horton Real Estate. She also took up the hobby of rubber stamping and soon began working and teaching at a local craft store. In 1999, the couple moved to Falmouth Foreside and Stenberg began volunteering at the Portland branch of the American Red Cross. In 2009, they moved to the Thornton Oaks Retirement Community in Brunswick.
Stenberg was passionate about antiques and old houses throughout her life and especially loved to decorate her home with her finds. Her family recollects the almost continuous arrangement and re-arrangement of furniture, paintings and rugs. Her other hobbies included handcrafts, sewing the family’s clothes, braiding and hooking rugs, rubber stamping and assembling jigsaw puzzles.
She always had a soft spot for animals, especially her adopted beagle, Lucy, and a husky mix named Sweet Girl, both of whom gave her much joy. She loved spending time with her family and friends.
Stenberg is survived by her husband, John Stenberg; three children, Kristen Rozenberg, of Sutton, Mass., Jeffrey Alan Stenberg, of Southwick, and James Tileston Stenberg, of Portland; her brother, Kenneth Menzies, of Framingham, Mass.; and her six grandchildren.
A memorial reception was held at Thornton Oaks in Brunswick Aug. 23. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland or the American Red Cross of Southern Maine. Arrangements are under the direction and care of Brackett Funeral Home, Brunswick.