GORHAM – Janet M. Steeves, 94, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend, died of complications from dementia on the morning of September 12, 2022 at Gorham House in Gorham, where she lived for her last four years .
Janet (Jeannette) was born in Jackman on May 7, 1928, the third daughter of Ralph and Lucille Gagnon. She graduated from Biddeford High School in 1946 and later became a freshman at SUNY Oswego, NY in 1967, but discontinued her studies after moving to Kingston, Jamaica in 1968. After many subsequent moves, she returned to college at Louisiana State University, Baton. Rouge, and graduated with a BA in 1985 (the first in his family to do so). She was interested in learning and was an inspiration to her only son, Michael.
She was married for 60 years to Merle V. Steeves, the love of her life. This was proven early on by the fact that although she had a deathly fear of heights, she was willing to ride the Old Orchard Beach roller coaster while courting Merle in 1947. Her employment in the construction with Stone and Webster Engineering Corp. led to her residency in 13 states where she made many friends. Over the years, she stayed in touch with almost everyone.
She was gifted with superb manual skills. Although her youthful ambition to follow her aunt Germaine as a concert pianist failed, she became a gourmet cook and baker (a family benefit). It also seemed like anything that could be sewn, she sewed it. Her last four-year project was a handmade Baltimore Album quilt. She generously donated much of her work to others. She also had a bit of a mischievous side and occasionally starred in comedy sketches with her sister Cheryl and brother-in-law Steve Squiers. She was the only person we knew who kept a “flasher” raincoat for the riskiest sketches! But his main traits were kindness, patience, honesty, generosity and hard work. She was also a second mother to many, always remembering birthdays and special occasions. Jeannette had the ability to win over almost any dog - when she got a guard Doberman in Jamaica, she turned the slightly nervous dog into a cream puff. She was also interested in painting and joined a wonderful group of people studying with Maine artist Sarah Knock. She and her friends continued to meet monthly to paint and learn from each other. She was active at St. Anne’s Catholic Church and volunteered at the Preble Street Food Pantry in Portland. She had a sweet tooth and was a big fan of Beal’s Ice Cream in Gorham. Her last words to her son were something like “Are you from Beal’s?”
She was predeceased by her husband Merle, her sister Simone Gilbert, her sister Lillian Colby and her brother Allen Gagnon. She is survived by her son Michael M. Steeves, her daughter-in-law Brenda H. Steeves; sisters Isabelle Lewis, Patricia Grant, Cheryl Squiers and brothers Ralph Gagnon, Jr. and James Gagnon. She also leaves to mourn many nephews and nieces, including those of the Steeves family, both in the United States and Canada.
The family thanks the kind staff at Gorham House and Beacon Hospice Care for their excellent service.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at Sainte-Anne in Gorham on Thursday, September 22 at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at the church. To express your condolences or to participate in Janet’s online tribute, please visit http://www.DolbyBlaisSegee.com.