Mary Janet Hills Gagnon


Mary Janet Hills Gagnon, 93, of Bar Harbor, formerly of Boston, Mass., and Kingston, N.H., daughter of Silas and Doris Hodgdon Hills of Belfast, passed away May 21, 2020. Janet was proud to be a 10th-generation descendant of Joseph Hills, the English emigrant to New England in 1638, as her family have been living on these lands longer than we have been a country and were patriots leading to our independence.

She believed that her greatest accomplishments in life were her children, each being unique individuals with an array of interests and talents. She had an adoration of babies, and truly shined as a grandmother later in life, learning to find new joys by looking at life events from a child’s perspective. A true passion and one of her greatest expressions of love to her family was her mastery of cooking and her joy for sharing ethnic cuisine, cultures and recipes gleaned from her friends and co-workers from around the world. She considered her life’s work to be a legacy of recipes and stories that she curated for future generations.  Retiring from a varied career, including her favorite work as a private investigator, to a small farm here in Maine in order to raise sheep, Janet was a fiber artist who enjoyed spinning yarn and weaving, amassing a large set of weaving looms. Received into St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Feb. 11, 1990, she was ordained into the Secular Franciscan Order on Oct. 4, 1992. Her love of religious studies led her to pilgrimage through Israel in the 1980s.

She is survived by sons Stephen Place of Greene, Ashley Place and wife, Julie, of Anchorage, Alaska, Samuel Place of Franklin, and two honorary sons, Christopher Derr of Ellsworth and Joseph Camerario of Everett, Mass. She is also survived by daughters, Dawn Donovan of Franklin, Gina Sucharewicz of Ellsworth, Nancy Camerario of Bar Harbor and Leona Gagnon and her husband, Randal Walls, of Franklin, and sons-in-law Nathan Pierre of Folsom, La., and Paul Handricken of Bridgewater, Mass. Two brothers Dave Hills of Searsport, Jack Hills of Montville, and sister Ola and her husband, Nelson Wight, of Belfast. Her grandchildren Nicky, Michael, Robert, Jeff, Scott, Amy, Avery, Arielle, Joseph, Katherine, Jacob, Kristen, Nicole, MaryBeth, Jonathan, Mark, Michael and John, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Janet was predeceased by daughters Sandi Pierre of Metarie, La., Syrie Andrea Place of Somerville, Mass., Linda Gagnon Handricken of Bridgewater, Mass., and also by sons Forrest Place, Leo Place Camerario of Ellsworth and Frank Gagnon of Nashua, N.H. Also, by her sister Eugenia Hills of Winthrop.

The family held a private burial on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Ellsworth. In lieu of flowers, Janet’s family asks that you please support your local hospice organization. They were important in Janet’s last days and she worked with them as a eucharistic minister.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth.

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