Gladyce Stais, 86, of Falmouth passed away peacefully on Oct. 11, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice in Scarborough.
A sixth-generation native of Orrington, she was born on Nov. 12, 1930, in Bangor, to Victor and Ethel Baker of Orington.
After Blake School in Orrington and graduation from Bangor High School, Gladyce earned a BA in Spanish at the University of Maine and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa.
She landed a job in the Modern Language Department at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., where she and her future husband, Jim Stais, shared an office. Married early in 1960, the couple moved to western Massachusetts, where their sons Alec and Matt were born. Their next move was to Hempstead, N.Y., where Jim became head of the Language Department at Adelphi University, and their third son Tony was born. After their sons were in school, Gladyce went back to her first love, teaching, working primarily at North Shore Junior and Senior High Schools. She taught Spanish and social studies.
Jim’s sabbaticals provided many opportunities for adventure, including two summer road trips to Mexico and an eight-month tour of 20 European countries with their boys, then aged 8, 6 and 5. After Jim passed away in 1984, Gladyce continued to teach and travel. In 1985, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study and travel in Peru. In her lifetime, she traveled to all seven continents and visited over 75 countries, including an African safari, an Antarctic expedition, hiking the Everest Trail in Nepal and volunteering in Mexico, Costa Rica and Bolivia.
After retiring in 1992, Gladyce moved to southern Maine, where she enjoyed a very full and active life. She loved the outdoors, and was an active golfer, hiker and cross-country skier. Also, for years she put her prodigious language skills to good use teaching English to students in Portland’s immigrant community.
Gladyce also is survived by her brother Alan Baker of Orrington, daughters-in-law Elissa Burke, Kiersten Stais and Marcie Holland, and granddaughters Elizabeth, Meredith, Shelby, Alexis and Beatrix Stais, and many friends and colleagues. Her independent mind, fierce spirit, kindness and generosity will be remembered and cherished by all who knew and loved her.