A year ago this week, everything changed. Maine recorded its first presumptive positive case of the novel coronavirus March 12, 2020. The following day, then-President Trump declared a national state of emergency. People stockpiled groceries. Schools shut down. Businesses told employees to stay home.
Fast forward a year and things are still strange, but the novelty certainly has worn off. We have seen what COVID-19 can do here and around the world. As of March 4, Hancock County had recorded 925 cases and 34 deaths. Forty residents have been hospitalized over the course of the pandemic. Other areas have been harder hit. In Boone County, Ill., with a population slightly smaller than Hancock County’s, there have been 5,933 cases and 71 deaths. More than half a million Americans have died — more than the nation lost on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
Public health officials remind us that every number represents a name. In that spirit, here are just a portion of the names of Mainers or people with strong ties to the state who have died after contracting the virus, according to obituaries:
Lola Knight, 89, of Winter Harbor; Maria Reddaway, 91, of Deer Isle; Carolyn Sweetser, 82, of Hancock; Hank Lawson, 87, of Brooklin; Robin Thayer, 55, of Buxton; Barrett Snow, 72, of Trenton; Bar Harbor native Thomas Fennelly, 91; Lois Raymond, 90, of Machias; Jeffrey Eaton, 62, Lubec; Charles Turner of Stonington; Leon Perrow of North Twin Lake and Florida; Aliette Y. Béland Couturier, 84, of Lewiston; Diane DeVita, 75, of Bangor; Roland Crooker, 56, of Gardiner; Richard Condon, 81, of Bangor; John “Jack” G. Nicholas, 65, of Dennysville; Dorothy Mae Beaton, 92, of Easton and Iowa; Shirley Ann Semon, 82, of Florida; Jerold Burdin, 72, of Corinna; Arlene Mae Grant, 90, of Old Town; Edmond Boucher, 75, of Old Town; Gary Renshaw, 69, of Biddeford; David Neil Anderson, 80, of Tennessee; John Desjardins, 81, of Colorado; Bette Ellet, 87, of Illinois; Carol Blevins, 73, of Patten; Rainald Gervais Jr., 65, of Caswell; Hilda Clark, 94, of Fort Fairfield; Art Hildebrandt, 83, of Hudson; Thomas Fennelly, 91, of Bangor; Charlie Hopper, 78, of Augusta; Patricia Gagner, 75, of Baileyville; Erlise Hughes, 89, of Bangor; Jeanne McBurnie, 94, of Bangor; Tommy Coon, 63, of Medway; Kitty Harriman, 71, of Northport; Dave Kearns, 78, of New Mexico; Carlson O’Bar, 81, of Corinth; Karen Bagley, 66, of Lynchburg; Ann Picard, 70, of Howland; Cynthia Bonsey, 88, of Brunswick; Bruni Estela, 93, of Orono; Walter Shafer, 76, of Harrington; Robert Abisi of Kittery; Frances Banks, 101, of Cape Elizabeth; Arthur Berger, 62, of York; Lou Lutz, 93, of Kittery Point; Tom Flacke of Morrill; Terri Jones, 73, of Belfast; Janet Gondek, 90, of Jefferson; Andrew Twaddle, 82, of East Boothbay; Dr. Bernard Slosberg, 79, of Maryland; Lee Olson, 91, of New York; Ginny Manning, 72, of Bristol; Floyd Reeves, 89, of Kentucky; Barbara Chubbuck, 72, of Florida; Gary Marple, 83, of Southport and Florida; Paul Louis, 51, summer resident of Boothbay Harbor; David Helming, 71, of South Carolina; Conrad Dana, 92, of Ohio, formerly of Boothbay Harbor; Sylvia Abbott, 86, of California; Allen Montgomery, 60, of Florida; Rod Doody, 77, of Presque Isle; Dick Corey, 74, of Irving; Elrita Bell, 94, of Presque Isle; Michael Daigle, 68, of Frenchville; Jeannine Dumond, 89, of Madawaska; J. Kenneth Soucy, 83, of Florida, a native of Grand Isle.
“Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow