Celebrating a life well-lived by someone who was thrust into the limelight accidentally was the purpose of a large gathering this afternoon at the USS Portland Memorial on the Eastern Promenade overlooking the Harbor.
Mary Elizabeth Brooks-Doughty, who died at the age of 96, on September 16, 2017, was thrust into the limelight when she christened the USS Portland at the Bethlehem Ship Building, Quincy, Massachusetts because her father was the Mayor of Portland – Ralph D. Brooks. It was during Prohibition and “Tissie” used ginger ale for the occasion. But, to do it correctly, in 2008, Tissie rechristened the aft mast of the USS Portland – this time using champaign.
“She had become the darling of the press and eventually had the honor of presenting flowers to Amelia Earhart as she barnstormed New England for the opening of Boston and Maine Airlines. None of this seemed to matter much to Tissie. What mattered was her family, her 74-year marriage to Waite and her friends. It was as if what counted to Tissie was not so much what was happening today but the impact left behind through the nurturing and mentoring of those with whom she came into contact daily, Tom, who she referred to affectionately as her favorite son-in-law in. In fact her only son-in-law – wonders what was going through her mind at age 90 when she could be seen tooling around Rincon East on her bicycle,” said the Rev. Dr. Stan Moody, Senior Pastor of the Columbia Street Baptist Church, Bangor, who officiated at today’s memorial service. He is also the founder and president of the Columbia Street Project. (No relation to Shawn) Tom Rolfe is the husband of Mary’s only child, Libby Doughty Rolfe.
“Her family was everything to her. She had the kindest smile of anyone. I hope she rests in peace. You are home. We all love you God bless you,” said her younger brother, Ned Brooks. He lives in the Greater Portland area.
The family never lived on Munjoy HIll. They lived on Exeter Street near the Stadium in North Deering. The last years of her life, Mary lived in Tuscon, AZ. Her husband died the year before she died. Libby and Tom Rolfe live in Michigan.