November 24, 1940 - January 2, 2022
A true Force of Nature; the family “General” STANDISH – Elaine Marie Spiller, 81, passed away peacefully at home on January 2, 2022 with son Philip Jr. and companion Roy Newell by her side. Born in Monmouth, ME on November 24, 1940, the daughter of Clifford and Marie (Holt) English, the family moved to Saco then South Portland in the early 1940’s where Elaine attended 1st grade. Next moving to Portland, near Woodfords Congregational Church where her mother Marie became Organist and Choir Director for 12 years, Elaine attended Sunday school, memorized many Bible verses, and later sang in the Woodfords Church high school choir - the first of its kind to be on black & white television in Maine. She attended the Nevens Street School until 4th grade, the Nathan Clifford School in 5th grade after moving to Craigie Street, and was in the first class at the new Longfellow School in 6th grade where she learned to play the French horn and joined the school orchestra. Her music interest would continue at Lincoln Jr. High, where she walked a mile to school with her French Horn and played in both the band and full orchestra. As a freshman at Deering High, Elaine was one of only two freshmen to make the Varsity Band - the first high school marching band in the state to use the fast step while marching. Playing in the orchestra as well, she was selected to All-State first chair on French Horn her senior year, and was offered a full scholarship to the Hart College of Music in Connecticut. Elaine played many sports at Deering as well: field hockey, basketball, and softball - which enabled her to “letter” and join the “D” Club. She also joined Nu Phi Mu junior sorority (an auxiliary of Beta Sigma Phi), the “Deering Slick Chicks,” and even was on the Dave Aster Show with some Deering classmates. Graduating in 1959, her love for Deering High never waned throughout life – as she would loudly erupt in the “Be Loyal to the Purple – Be Loyal to the White” fight song anytime Deering was mentioned in conversation. Graduating from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) in Glenside, PA in 1963, Elaine’s first job was teaching 5th grade in Downingtown, PA – which she did in a walking cast for several months, after breaking a leg in a ski accident on Mt. Snow. Two years later she moved to Bayside on Long Island, NY and instructed 5th grade for another two years. Summers were always special for Elaine, whether early in life or in her final years at home on Sebago Lake. Her school summers consisted of washing dishes by hand at Pine Grove Farm & Cabins in Raymond in 1957 and as a waitress there the following two summers. Elaine then attended the Red Cross Instruction Camp in Massachusetts her first summer after college – obtaining many Instructor Certificates and spending the next 7 summers at Camp Pinecrest for Girls in Naples as a waterfront instructor teaching swimming, life-saving, boating, canoeing, sailing, and waterskiing. She loved leading the girls on overnight canoe trips and became Camp Trip Leader. In 1967, Elaine returned to Maine - moving in with her parents on Sebago Lake and teaching 5th grade at the Hall School in Portland. Attending summer and night schools, she received a Master’s of Science Degree in Education from USM in 1969. That same year, she married US Army Colonel Philip D. Spiller of Westbrook at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland after meeting him in her parent’s living room - after just two dates! Elaine moved in with Phil at his home on Webster Avenue in Westbrook, and continued teaching at the Hall School in Portland until daughter Jane arrived in 1971 followed by Philip, Jr. in 1973. In 1976 they moved to what she always fondly called “the farm” – a ten-acre Westbrook estate on the Windham line with an adjoining 100 acres in Windham the family has set aside as the future “Spiller Family Preserve.” Elaine loved being a “stay-at-home Mom,” parent-volunteering in many organizations for school, sports, and music – even becoming a softball coach at the Westbrook Rec Department. She often joked she should have had more kids with her immense enjoyment supporting her children’s activities, which continued throughout their years at Syracuse (Jane) and Cornell (Philip) Universities. Elaine’s early exposure to church from her mother led to her lifelong love of Pride’s Corner Congregational Church, raising children Jane and Philip there in choirs under the direction of Marian Rich, chairing the Church Fair for three years introducing a “Corner Country Fair” theme with booths and servers in costume, and writing the church newsletter called “The Mouse” for ten years – introducing a new booklet format in the days before electric typewriters or computers. With a love of fundraising, she also served as Chair of the Music Committee and was instrumental in obtaining the new church Allen organ and grand piano - matching funds for donations from the congregation. She also served as church representative to the United Church of Christ Annual Conference and Church Communicator. Most importantly however, Elaine loved working alongside husband Phil (and children) on the famous Prides Corner monthly bean suppers and annual chicken pie supper which still continue to this day. In the 80’s, Elaine worked part-time during several holiday seasons for L.L. Bean at the Portland call center, and later full-time in Customer Service from which she retired in 2002. She was on the first "Internet teams” at L.L Bean, which would take calls from customers needing help in the first days of ordering merchandise “online.” She was often amused by the many customers calling simply to find out how to use their new computers - and never forgot one company instructor telling her the Internet was just a fad and would eventually go away! Elaine treasured her 36-year marriage to husband Phil, and especially enjoyed being “First lady of Westbrook” when Phil was elected Mayor of Westbrook in 1983. Although unappreciative of politics in general, she always supported Phil - writing many of his speeches and ensuring all his political activities and events went smoothly. She even served a 20-person sit-down dinner at their Westbrook home in April 1989 during the first Greater Portland / Archangel Russia Sister-City delegation visit - which her son later re-created at the same house during a 25th anniversary commemoration of the program after his own trip to Archangel re-tracing his father’s footsteps from 25 years earlier. Elaine was immensely proud to support her son’s own bid for Westbrook Mayor in 2019, and his many efforts to continue his father’s work building the Westbrook community through organizations like Discover Downtown Westbrook which her son helped launch. For hobbies, Elaine especially loved gardening - working the huge family vegetable garden at “the farm” and giving away produce to family and friends. The farm was always busy – with dozens of chickens/ roosters, a goat, pigs, a dog, and five cats providing plenty of entertainment and education. Elaine and Phil loved traveling too - making three trips to Puerto Rico, one being a church mission with Prides Corner Church. They also traveled to the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and began wintering in Florida the last several years of Phil’s life. Following his passing in 2005, Elaine established a Mayor Philip D. Spiller Scholarship at Westbrook High School for any senior planning to enter his University of Maine alma mater and majoring in Math or Engineering - which her son continues to help administer to this day. She continued wintering in Florida, and loved singing in the choir and attending Bible Classes at St. Gregory’s Anglican Episcopal Church in Boca Raton until her Wegener’s Disease forced her to remain near her doctors in Boston and Maine. While she could, she enjoyed the many free travel perks from son Philip whom had become a Captain at Jetblue after retiring as a US Navy Pilot and Commander. Moving back to Maine full-time and selling the Westbrook “farm” to son Philip in 2007, Elaine finally fully “retired” to her parent’s retirement home on Sebago Lake in 2009: the same place where she met her husband in 1969, where both her parents had passed away, and where she would eventually pass away herself in 2022. She remained active on committees at Pride’s Corner Church, Westbrook Woman’s Club, the Standish Burke Road Association, and senior college classes at USM. She fulfilled a lifetime bucket list item when conducting the USM senior college chorus for two semesters, using skills learned from her Conducting Class 101 class at Beaver College 50 years earlier! As her mother Marie was organist/choir director at the North Windham Union Congregational Church for 25 years, Elaine continued contributing to the Marie English Music Scholarship there. While living on Sebago, Elaine spent her last 15+ years hosting family and friends and viewing the White Mountains, swimming, boating, fishing, and riding her jet-skis. Unbelievably, she had purchased another jet ski for the lakehouse just 3 weeks before her passing. Elaine always felt best being on - or in - the water, and wanted others to feel the same! Elaine felt especially enriched throughout life by her family and many friends and - after her husband’s passing - her close friendship with Roy Newell who lived with her and provided help and companionship in the many activities they enjoyed together in her final years. Being active, remaining engaged in the community, and having many friends helped Elaine maintain her unequivocal passion for a positive life: always learning, teaching, and having fun - even when medically challenged at times. Her son always lovingly joked that although Dad was the Mayor and Colonel, mom Elaine was truly the General. “Try to live each day to the fullest!” was her motto, which became more difficult at the end of her life when self-sufficiency began to slip away - and she became thankful of the many trips her devoted daughter Jane would make from Arizona to help care for her. Elaine is survived by her daughter, Jane Waypa, husband Mark and their three children, Catherine, Rebecca, and Elizabeth of Phoenix, AZ; son, Philip D. Spiller, Jr. and his partner Brooke Skillings of Westbrook; and her companion, Roy C. Newell. A Service of Life Celebration will be held 12 p.m., Saturday, January 15, 2022 at Pride’s Corner Congregational Church, 235 Pride Street, Westbrook, followed by a luncheon downstairs from 1-3 p.m. in Friendship Hall. Burial will be held at the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery, Westbrook in June. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts are encouraged to Pride’s Corner Congregational Church 235 Pride Street, Westbrook, ME 04092, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust at https://www.prlt.org/donate-now, or Discover Downtown Westbrook, P.O. Box 269, Westbrook, ME 04098. Due to Covid regulations, capacity at the church may be limited, to watch the live stream of Elaine's service, please visit, https://www.facebook.com/pridescornerucc
A true Force of Nature; the family “General” STANDISH – Elaine Marie Spiller, 81, passed away peacefully at home on January 2, 2022 with son Philip Jr. and companion Roy Newell by her side. Born in Monmouth, ME on November... View Obituary & Service Information
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A true Force of Nature; the family “General”
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