Jean R. Webster

Sun, 12/12/2021 - 6:00pm

With her husband and daughter at her side, Jean Rosalie Webster passed away peacefully at home on Dec. 9, 2021 from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 82. Jean was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, daughter of Salvatore Carl “Carl” Pidala and Vincenza “Jean” (Ricci) Pidala. Following her graduation from Bay Ridge High School, she began working at Associated Underwriters International located in the financial district of Manhattan. In 1959, a mutual friend introduced her to a young Marine Lance Corporal, John Webster, from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. That chance encounter between a city girl and a country boy led to a long and loving life together. They married in 1961 and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. Jean created a life with John that would take them across this country and to other countries - yet they would spend every summer of their marriage at Ocean Point, East Boothbay, Maine. Following retirement, Jean and John lived in Maine year-round.

When her children reached high school, Jean enrolled in Sullivan County (NY) Community College, receiving an associate’s degree in 1980. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and creative writing, she made the long drive from her home in Grahamsville, New York over the Shawangunk mountains to the State University of New York at New Paltz where she graduated in 1986.

Jean worked as a reporter and eventually the editor of the Ellenville Press, and wrote for the Boothbay Register. She and her business partner started the Catskills Public Relations firm in the Catskills region, which they ran together for about 10 years. An ardent feminist, Jean started the Sullivan County chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and marched in Washington, D.C. in 1978 in support of the ratification of the equal rights amendment.

For many years, along with her late brother-in-law Arthur Webster and late sister-in-law Faith Foster, she and John owned and operated Orne’s Candy Store in Boothbay Harbor, which John continues to run. John and Jean also owned The Ice Cream Parlor in Boothbay Harbor from 1979 to 1985.

Throughout her life, she pursued her love of music, writing, and art. She published poems in newspapers and small press journals and was the author a book of poems, “Four Corners of the Circle.” She sang in the Sullivan County Community Chorus and had leading roles in Gilbert and Sullivan productions at Sullivan County Community College. She joined and contributed to an all-women’s choral group that performed in Moscow, Russia and other eastern European countries. In Maine, she was a founding member of the Lincoln County Arts Festival Chorus and sang in the Oratorio Chorale in Portland. Jean was also on the Board of the Boothbay Region Land Trust. Similar to her own mother, after retirement Jean began taking painting classes around 2000 and exhibited her work at the Boothbay Region Arts Foundation. She filled her home with poems, short stories and bold colorful paintings.

Jean’s life was grounded in her love of her family. She invested her energy and creativity doing the things her family loved to do, from hiking and family picnics in the rolling Catskill mountains to cross country and downhill skiing in Vermont, Colorado, and eventually Europe. She continued the tradition of Italian cooking learned from her mother and father.

She was predeceased by her older sister Christina Nesfield, and is survived by her husband John, daughter Kim (and husband Michael Godsy), her son Stephen (and wife Theresa Oliva Webster) and grandchildren Ethan Webster, Nicole Webster, Grace Godsy, and Ava Godsy. She is also survived by her sister, Veronica “Roni” Pidala.

The family wishes to thank Trudy Perkins, Danielle Cloutier, Trish Monroe, Wendy Wood and Barbara Marr, who provided exceptional care for Jean. Memorial contributions can be made to the Boothbay Region Health Center and designated to the Reverse Cognitive Decline Research Study.

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