Dorothy Katherine “Scottie” Boyle passed peacefully on Labor Day, 2021, at the age of 98. Scottie was born in Campbellton, NB, Canada. She was the only child of Mary Jane Scott (nee’ LeBlanc) and Henry Lloyd Scott. Scottie is survived by her son, Michael Boyle; her grandchildren, Caitlin Ferrara, and Matthew, Jared and Jonathan Delello; and, her beloved great grandchildren, Madeline, Vincent, Anthony and Abigail Ferrara. Scottie was predeceased by her first husband, Robert Madden, her second husband, Milon “Mike” Boyle, and her daughter, Margaret Delello, who passed on Memorial Day, 2012. Scottie’s many, many friends and relatives are located throughout the United States and Canada.
For many reasons, a life like Scottie’s will not be lived again. Born in 1923, she was a child of the Great Depression, which meant, among other things, that all the food on her plate was to be eaten, blessings were to be counted and money was to be saved. She lived that way her entire life. Pain, hurt and grief were not to be visited upon family or friends but kept to oneself, and so she did, throughout a 98-year journey that saw Scottie lose the love-of-her-life at 21, then the father of her children, and finally her daughter Margaret.
Scottie’s parents moved to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1925, where Scottie attended Arlington High School. Anyone who knew Scottie well was reminded by her at some point that “women didn’t go to college in the ‘40’s.” Well, Scottie was a 1945 graduate of Cornell University, its proudest booster, and a lifelong member of Kappa Delta sorority. Scottie took advantage of all Cornell had to offer and so she was active in more clubs, associations, committees and teams than you could shake a stick at. Throughout her life, she subscribed to “Living Bird”, published quarterly by Cornell’s Ornithology Lab.
Among her many extracurricular activities while at Cornell, Scottie was in charge of arranging socials between Cornell’s sororities and its many servicemen organizations at the time. It was at one of those socials that Scottie met the love-of-her-life, Robert Werner Madden. In photos, Bogart and Bacall had nothing on Bob and Scottie. Scottie was an absolute beauty and as smart as they come, while Bob was about as handsome as a man can be. Bob was also brave, with a great love of country, and so he enlisted as a navigator/bombardier in the Army Air Corp.
Scottie and Bob were married on April 22, 1944, and as soon as Cornell’s Spring semester ended, Scottie moved to the base in Georgia where Bob and his crew were in final training before being dispatched to the European Theater. It was there, on Friday, August 13, 1944, while Scottie was having lunch at the mess hall, that she was approached by two officers who advised her that Bob’s plane had just exploded in mid-air, killing the entire crew. There she was, a Gold Star WWII widow at the age of 21, and after just four months of marriage. It was then that Scottie began to lose her hearing.
Following Bob’s death, Scottie returned to Cornell, obtained her degree and began work as a 4-H Club Agent. Scottie remarried on Christmas Eve, 1946, to Milon Boyle, a Navy man who held degrees from Duke and Columbia Universities who was 13 years’ her senior. Scottie and Mike settled in Deer Park, on Long Island, where they lived for the next 27 years while raising their children, Michael and Margaret. During her time in Deer Park, Scottie worked as the Assistant Director of 4-H for Suffolk County, an Occupational Therapist at Pilgrim State Hospital, a Dietician at the Brooklyn Orphan Association, and a substitute teacher in Deer Park.
Some of you will remember when Scottie walked with a pretty good limp, that ultimately resulted in a hip replacement in the mid-70’s. She would later joke that her “new hip” was supposed to be good for only 25 years. Well, that limp came about because Scottie was supervising a class of youngsters at a grammar school’s playground one day in the ‘50’s, when she noticed that one of the “parked” school buses was rolling toward the playground. True to form, Scottie ran to the bus, jumped on the running board, reached through the driver’s window, and yanked the emergency brake. The bus stopped suddenly, of course, and Scottie was thrown quite a distance, breaking her left hip in the fall. The local newspaper lauded her a “hero” at the time, and rightly so. How ironic that Scottie ultimately died as the result of a fall that broke her “good hip”, as she so often called it.
Mike had contracted malaria in the service, which would act-up during hot Long Island summers. So, Scottie located a home in Pembroke, Maine, where the family spent their summers for the next two decades. There and a small camp they owned on Boyden’s Lake. Scottie’s love affair with Down East Maine began then. The raw natural beauty; the clean, salty air that took-away her asthma; the wildflowers, the lupine, always the lupine; fishing, clamming, haddock and lobster rolls; Maine’s famous reversing falls just a stone’s throw away; the Bay of Fundy with its 25’ tides constantly changing seascapes, the tides, always the tides; Campobello Island just across the Bay, where she played golf until she was 82; and, of greatest importance to Scottie, the people who lived there, the people, the people, always the people. It was there that Scottie began putting brush to canvas.
In 1973, after Margaret graduated from high school and began her own Cornell experience, Scottie and Mike moved to 5 Water Street in Eastport, where she would live for the next 46 years. According to Scottie, the happiest years of her life were spent gardening all around Eastport. Scottie was a master gardener. She could not only identify every plant and flower, she knew how it was to be cared for. Scottie also knew how to arrange her plantings for maximum beauty, mixing height, color, the type of blossoms and the time of blossoming as only an artist can. Those of you who visited Scottie in Eastport know she surrounded herself with flowers, while sitting in her breakfast nook at 5 Water Street.
Scottie absolutely loved Eastport, and so she was particularly proud of all the places around town where she had created and cared for new flower gardens during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, beginning with the garden surrounding the “Welcome to Eastport” sign at Carrying Place Cove. Scottie also planted the crabapple trees at the Post Office, and she created the flower gardens at the Barracks Museum, the Seaman’s Church and the Tides Institute. However, Scottie’s contributions to Eastport went far beyond her one-woman beautification campaign. Scottie was active in the Congregational Church, the Border Historical Society, and the Saint Croix Valley International Garden Club, where she was an active member for 25 years. Scottie also taught adult education classes in acrylic painting during the ‘80’s. As a result, Scottie received several awards over the years which honored Scottie’s contributions to her beloved Eastport.
Scottie herself blossomed into a regionally known painter and arts and crafts artisan during the ‘70’s. Santa’s face and beard painted on clam shells, ladybugs painted on smooth stones, etc., etc. In addition to the literally thousands of arts and crafts she created over the years, Scottie sold several hundred original paintings depicting her favorite Maine sites and sightings at Quoddy Crafts in downtown Eastport. While Scottie painted in several media, watercolor was her favorite. Scottie’s paintings hang on walls throughout the United States and Canada; not as tribute to the person everyone knew as “Scottie”, but because her paintings are so darn beautiful. For me, the scenes she chose, and the way she used color, resulted in lasting images that are as pleasing to the eye as Scottie’s flower gardens. I can still see the one of a dory near a weir, in the shrouded morning mist. My favorite. I wonder where it’s hanging?
Mike passed in 1987, which meant Scottie lived alone at 5 Water Street for the following 32 years. Scottie’s fervent wish was that she could pass, in her sleep and in her home, and so she managed to largely take care of herself, even with her bedroom on the second floor, until age 96. Scottie was able to spend time with her beloved mother Jane, who spent her final years in Eastport before passing in 1993. Scottie loved her parents dearly, and so it was a bittersweet experience seeing her mother ebb away. I remember.
Scottie’s life was good, very good, until 2012 and her daughter Margaret’s untimely and untoward death from breast cancer. Scottie’s children were the light of her life, of course, and Margaret was certainly her mother’s daughter. Scottie taught Margaret everything she knew as a little girl, Margaret attended Cornell, just like Scottie, and Margaret absolutely loved Down East Maine, just like Scottie. Two peas in a pod is a trite but accurate descriptor for their relationship.
For instance, while Margaret was undergoing chemotherapy for her own breast cancer, Scottie had surgery for a throat cancer. However, when the surgeon opened her throat, he saw the cancer, thought it was hopeless, closed her and left her with a tracheotomy. Scottie had then been moved to a hospice in Ellsworth, Maine to die. So, in between her own chemo sessions, Margaret flew to Bangor, Maine, where she was contacted by her dear friends the Waters, who advised that a friend was willing to fly Scottie and Margaret, at low altitude, to Solberg Field in New Jersey. Margaret agreed, got Scottie ready to fly, with the tracheotomy, and brought her to our home in New Jersey, which happened to be just down the street from Solberg.
Margaret then arranged for Scottie to be treated by the same Cornell-educated oncologist who was treating Margaret, which of course pleased Scottie. Needless to say, Scottie’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was eradicated, but at a cost. One of her vocal cords was paralyzed by her chemo and/or radiation therapy, which gradually reduced her voice to a hard whisper over the years. Regardless, Scottie healed and after a year or so in New Jersey with her daughter, Scottie returned to Eastport.
Scottie was assisted greatly during her final decade in Eastport by her longtime friends, Bob and Linda Godfrey. Without them, it would have been a real struggle for Scottie, who of course no longer drove, to continue living at 5 Water Street. With them, Scottie soldiered on in Eastport until Friday, September 13, 2019, when I brought her to our home in Ringoes, New Jersey, not far from Whitehouse Station, where Margaret had lived. It was that day that I learned that Scottie had never travelled, even in a car, on any Friday the 13th, the day Bob was killed. Scottie made an exception that day, however, and we began a trip to New Jersey, where Scottie spent the final two years of her life, living mostly independently, with me and my wife. On this note, I can report to everyone that Scottie’s mind and memory, of which she was so very proud, were as sharp at the end of her glorious life as they were the day I met Scottie in 1975.
Scottie feared growing so old, that she would be forced into assisted living. She knew she’d lose the ability to continue running her own life and she knew her own life would be “dumbed-down.” For her, it loomed as the gallows would to the man being offered a hood. Well, that did not happen. Scottie spent her final days as she chose to spend them, so she continued to read, she continued to correspond with her friends on Facebook and by email and she continued to be present in the lives of her grandchildren. If she just hadn’t fallen……
How to conclude, with a life such as this? Well, here’s a little story I will remember for the rest of my life, especially when I feel some self-pity coming on. Not that many months ago, I’m with Scottie at a doctor’s appointment. Scottie had lost her ability to hear (anything) not long after Margaret passed, so we are communicating via a computer tablet using an app called LiveTranscribe, which gives a verbatim translation that Scottie could then read. This allowed Scottie to have “normal” conversations at the end of her life. No more whiteboard.
So, the doctor asks a question, Scottie reads the question, and then she answers. Now, at this point in her life, Scottie had also gone completely blind in her left eye. In addition, she suffered from peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes, which meant she had no feeling below her knees or in her fingertips. The doctor is a dermatologist, and we’re seeing him because Scottie had developed an annoyingly itchy skin condition. The itching was making her crazy!
Anyhow, the doctor is going down his list of “general health” inquiries, and he asks Scottie “Have you ever felt depressed?” Scottie reads the question with her “good eye”, looks right back at the doctor, and shouts through her mask, “Never!”
September 11, 2021
Ringoes, New Jersey