SKOWHEGAN -- Thelma Alice (Spofford) Jewell passed away Feb. 13 after a brief stay at a care facility, Tissues Country Estate in Athens, Maine. Thelma was born May 2, 1917, at her parents' home on the Back Road in Fairfield. She attended high school as a day student at Good Will-Hinckley while her father was employed there. Thelma was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Robert E. Jewell. As a youngster, Thelma became a professional health care-giver, taking care of her mother who had severe diabetes, and who died one week after the birth of Thelma's youngest son.
Following a number of years as a practical nurse at several institutions in Skowhegan and Waterville, she joined an eye surgery unit at Thayer Hospital and enjoyed many years assisting eye surgeons who developed some of the first cataract removal techniques. This group taught short courses in the United States and Europe and Thelma helped to put together surgery packages for a number of these workshops.
Surviving family includes her two sons, Thomas Robert (Kathi) and William James (Marlene). Thelma was particularly proud that both sons became professors at major universities.
Grandchildren include Robert William Jewell (Leslie), of Louisville, Ky., and Debra (Jewell) Saito (Eisuke), of New York, N.Y. Robert has three daughters, Madeleine Hope, Justine Brooklyn and Ella Grace, and one son, Luke Robert. Debra and Eisuke have two sons, Niko and Mica.
Thelma's "adopted" family includes her Main(e) care-giver Ted and Linda Wood. Thelma often referred to Ted as her "third son." Ted and Linda's daughter, Alison (Mrs. Brian Salley) always called Thelma "Grammy" as did the three Salley sons, Benjamin, Spencer and Gary.
Thelma leaves her beloved farmhouse, gardens and fields (known as "The Ranch") to which she devoted many caring hours. Thelma loved many cats and dogs and especially missed her most recent two canine buddies, Pooh Bear and Lena.
Thelma also leaves nieces, nephews and some special, caring friends.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
The family wishes to thank many people that supported Thelma in her last days at Tissues and excellent and caring staff at Redington-Fairview General Hospital and Hospice.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. Written remembrances can be registered on line at www.smar tandedwardsfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, family and friends are requested to make contributions in her name to Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County, P.O. Box 3069, Skowhegan, ME 04976, 474-7775; or Somerset Humane Society, P.O. Box 453, Skowhegan, ME 04976, 474-6493.