Marilyn Isaacson Simonds

Life Story

Marilyn Isaacson Simonds, age 90, died Tuesday, February 26 in Lewiston surrounded by her loving children.

Marilyn was born in Lewiston on April 22, 1928, the daughter of Judge Harris M. and Goldie Resnick Isaacson.  She attended LaSalle College and graduated from the University of Maine at Orono. She wed Samuel Simonds in 1948, and the couple had a long and devoted marriage until his death in 2002. She lived most of her life in Lewiston and Auburn.

Marilyn was widely respected and admired for her tireless efforts on behalf of children, the poor and immigrants. She taught in the elementary grades at Coburn and McMahon schools in Lewiston and for many years at Androscoggin Head Start.  She capped her career as an English Language Learner volunteer for 18 years at the Lewiston Adult Learning Center, where she taught many of the city’s newly arrived immigrants, retiring less than a year before her death.

For over 40 years, Marilyn volunteered her time, effort and skills assisting numerous non-profit organizations.  She was one of the founders and served on the board of Pathways, Inc. and was also a member of the Head Start and Temple Shalom boards and of St. Mary’s Hospital finance committee.  She mentored girls from the Stevens Training School, promoted civic participation through the League of Women Voters, read to youngsters in the BookReach program sponsored by the Auburn Public Library, and helped serve meals at the Calvary Methodist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church Jubilee Center soup kitchens.   Her spontaneous acts of kindness and generosity extended well beyond these organizations to almost everyone she knew.   

Although Marilyn never sought recognition for her good deeds, that recognition inevitably found her.  In 2006, she was selected from candidates across the country to receive the prestigious Lewis Hine Award for Community Volunteer Service from the National Child Labor Committee. In 2016, she also received a Central Maine YWCA Women of Achievement Award.

  Marilyn’s greatest joy was spending time with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family. As they dispersed geographically, she remained in close touch, acknowledged every special occasion with a card or call, and constantly sought opportunities to bring them together. She was a superb cook and gracious host, and her home was often the locale for family get-togethers.

Marilyn is survived by her children, Ellen Epstein and husband Elliott, Gail Simonds, and David Simonds and wife Cindy; five grandchildren, Matthew Deschaine and fiancé Donatella Bogdan, Ariel Epstein Pollack and husband Marc, and Asher, Eli and Owen Simonds; and two great-grandchildren, Elijah and Harris Deschaine. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband Samuel, and her brother Philip M. Isaacson.

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