Jeannette Parker

Jeannette Katherine "Molly" Parker

Monday, February 6th, 1939 - Friday, June 12th, 2020
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Indian Township - Molly Jeannette, 81, passed away surrounded by her family after a brief stay at Calais Regional Hospital. Born at Indian Township, ME, eldest daughter of Lewey and Irene Dana.

Molly was an amazing woman, a respected Elder, a Master Basket Maker, an outstanding chef, and a fluent speaker of Passamaquoddy. She was well known for her strength and determination. Her life was dedicated to the preservation of Passamaquoddy traditions and values.

She was a resilient leader who helped make enduring changes to her community through her work and by her example. She was a founding member and current President of the Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance. Recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, Molly received an Arts Heritage Fellowship in 2012. The First Peoples fund recognized her and honored her with the Community Spirit Award. Locally the University of Maine at Machias gave her the distinguished achievement award. In 2015 Molly received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College awarded for her work as a traditional artist. She taught basket making across the country and her baskets can be found around the world in both private collections and Museums. Molly had a lifelong work ethic that reflected her belief in the value of her culture and the importance of family. She was a natural leader who held many positions within Tribal government over the years, including being the first Passamaquoddy woman to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor at Indian Township. She was a fierce advocate for Passamaquoddy Tribe at every level.

Molly’s greatest pride was her family. As the mother of 9 children she opened her heart and her home to many other children who grew and bloomed because of her warmth, spirit, generosity and dedication. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gave her joy and she saw them as her greatest contribution and achievement in life. She loved any sport that featured her grandchildren or great grandchildren. Surprisingly, she was never asked to leave a game for her harsh comments—our thanks to the Referees and Umpires for their tolerance.

Whether it be one person or 200, Molly loved to feed people. She ran a restaurant and catering service that not only fed people but offered a place that was welcoming and where laughter could be heard. To listen to Molly was always a learning experience. She was gifted at loving people and caring for them in ways that were life changing.

She is survived by her children, Gordon Newell, Dolly Barnes, Tammy Neptune, Frances Neptune, Elizabeth Neptune, Yolanda Neptune, Christopher Neptune, stepson Ken Parker, and last but not least, her beloved son, Christopher Moses Neptune Parker; her brothers Stephen Newell and Robert Newell; 28 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren; several godchildren; many, many beloved nieces and nephews, and her best friend Doris Chapman.

She is predeceased by her husband Terrance C. Parker; parents Lewey and Irene Dana; daughter Janet Neptune, her sisters Martha Barstis, Phyllis Saunders, Eleanor Mitchell, and brothers Sopiel Dana, Kenneth and James Newell.

Although her legacy will live on through the lives she has touched, she will be dearly missed.

We would like to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to “Dr. Chris” and the amazing Nursing staff at Calais Regional Hospital for their compassionate and quality care provided during her last days.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: The Molly Neptune Parker Mentor Fund, c/o Jeannette Parker Estate, PO Box 55, Princeton, ME 04668. Donations will be used to establish a mentor scholarship program that supports her lifelong dedication of the preservation Passamaquoddy arts.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, a wake viewing will be held at her home beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2020 until 10 a.m. Thursday, June 18, with temperature checks, strict social distancing and use of face mask requirements in place. A private Mass of Christian Burial with Father Kevin J. Martin will take place. A public committal service will follow the Mass at 12:45 p.m. at the Indian Township Tribal Cemetery. Arrangements by Mays Funeral Home, Calais & Eastport.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 |
    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
    Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, a wake viewing will be held at her home beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2020 until 10 a.m. Thursday, June 18, with temperature checks, strict social distancing and use of face mask requirements in place.
  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, June 18th, 2020 | 12:45pm
    Thursday, June 18th, 2020 12:45pm
    Indian Township Tribal Cemetery
    Peter Dana Point Road
    Indian Township, Maine 04677
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Father Kevin J. Martin
  • Interment

    Thursday, June 18th, 2020 | 12:45pm
    Thursday, June 18th, 2020 12:45pm
    Indian Township Tribal Cemetery
    Peter Dana Point Rd.
    Indian Township, ME 04668
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Amanda Cassano

Posted at 03:44pm
As a Native student at Bowdoin, I had the opportunity to meet Molly several times during orientation trips, alternative spring breaks, and a basket-weaving event she hosted at the college. What a phenomenal woman. Not only is her artistry incredibly unique, thoughtful, and imaginative, but she will stand in my memory as the kind of elder I hope to become some day. Her generosity to teach anyone who wanted to learn from her was inspiring. I remember her speaking of her children and grandchildren with such pride and joy. Molly's passing is a great loss to the Native student community at Bowdoin, but we will make sure her legacy lives on.

Paige O'Connor

Posted at 09:22pm
I shared a brief conversation with Molly as she grilled up burgers for me and some fellow Bowdoin students during our orientation trip. What a spectacular woman: accomplished, kind, so willing to share her knowledge and experience with anyone interested. Now, I think of her whenever I see a beautiful basket. I'm sorry to hear of this loss to the Passamaquoddy community and send my best wishes to her family.

Margo Boyd

Posted at 10:35pm
So deeply saddened by the loss of Molly Neptune Parker. My husband and I would always look forward to seeing and talking with her at the basketmaker's shows as she was so very talented and was so informative in talking about basketmaking and the traditions that she was so determined to keep alive. We purchased one of our earliest baskets from her and it is cherished . She was one of the strongest women I knew and this is a terrible loss to her family, the Passamaquoddy community and to all who knew her. All my sympathy and condolences.
Margo Boyd/Steve Bicknell

Lauren Hickey

Posted at 05:58pm
I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Molly Neptune. I met Molly during a week-long orientation trip for Bowdoin students entering their first year of college. I was immediately floored by her generosity and hospitality. We were staying at the cabins on her property, and the first night she let us into her home to use her oven to make pizza, which we clumsily proceeded to burn-- but Molly graciously forgave us for smoking up her kitchen! Another night she hosted a cook-out for all nine of us. On the final night she mesmerized us with a basket weaving demonstration. When I think back on that experience, I will always remember most clearly the lightness, wisdom, and hope radiated by Molly Neptune Parker. My prayers are with the Parker family.

Lauren Hickey
Bowdoin '20

Jennifer Apt

Posted at 05:02pm
I am truly saddened by the fact that I couldn't be there to be with all of you to honor Molly. I have so many happy memories of her that I wanted to share. Not through words but in person. Molly tried to teach me how to make a basket once and I'm not that crafty it came out crooked and loose Molly just laughed so much at me. I went to her when I lost my ex husband who I loved dearly because I wasn't able to process it and somehow I knew she could give help me. She talked to me for hours that night and soothed my heartache. She gave me one of her special rosery beads to help me when troubled times happened. Someone stole the rosery from me sadly. I spent much time with her over the years since i was young and I love her deeply. I'm thankful for all the memories of her good and sad. I enjoyed my times with her helping her, learning from her and eating with her.

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