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.