FAIRFIELD, ME--Alma Louise Matthieu passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones at Maine General Hospital on May 30, 2019, after suffering a massive and irreversible stroke in her home on May 28. \r\n\r\nAlma was born in Waterville, Maine on January 7, 1948, the daughter of Kenneth and Louise (McInnis) Sanders. She spent her early life growing up with her three siblings in Fairfield, Maine, just outside of the shadows of the Keyes Fibre Company paper mill, which would remain the backdrop for her home almost her entire life. \r\n\r\nAlma’s first career was as a licensed beautician and it was not uncommon for her to have neighbors and friends sitting at her kitchen table, hair wound tightly in perm rods, sharing a laugh or a cup of coffee as Creedence Clearwater Revival played in the background. While she enjoyed the artistry of doing hair, she eventually changed careers and made her way into early childhood education, founding Pooh Corner Nursery School in the basement of her Verdun Street home, where she worked very hard to prepare many little minds for public school. In the final part of her career, Alma shifted her focus to the Montessori method of education while working at Kennebec Montessori School where she continued to support children’s curiosity and natural desire to independently learn. Throughout her career, and well beyond her retirement, she continued to receive notes of thanks and annual Christmas cards from former students and their families, which she proudly displayed and then kept in her bedside drawer.\r\n\r\nAlma was a closet writer and quiet artist throughout her life, writing personal poetry and eloquent letters of advocacy, sketching drawings, and painting pottery. She had a beautiful voice and enjoyed music and singing around the house, harmonizing with her dear friend Brenda to Linda Ronstadt, swooning at a Neil Diamond concert, or joining in her favorite hymns at Sunday church service. \r\n\r\nAlma loved and valued the sense of community, deep friendships, and laughter that would come to support and sustain her while raising her family on Verdun Street. From rousing Halloween parties, neighborhood BBQ’s, day trips to Popham Beach and Ocean Point, her weekly bowling league, coffee with friends, or a simple wave from Jan each morning, the neighborhood and her neighbors provided her life with love, memories, security, and meaning. \r\n\r\nIn more recent years, she enjoyed summering at her second home in Newport on the pond with Doug and their sweet dachshund Sophie, watching the ducklings and hummingbirds while sharing a glass of wine and laughing with dear friends on the deck. \r\n\r\nAlma was incredibly proud of her home and family, especially her 54 years of marriage to the love of her life, Doug. She was an amazing cook and loved to host holiday meals featuring her legendary Turkey and Tourtiere pies, or to sling hot dogs at the football boosters snack shack on a Friday night in support of her son and the LHS Bulldogs. She was proud to have never missed a single one of her son’s high school or college gridiron games. Alma took intense pride in caring for the people and things she loved. From the sidelines of a football or field hockey game to the side of a Dana-Farber hospital bed, she was beautifully boisterous and passionate and an example of bravery whenever it counted most. Her wry wit and self-deprecating humor is fabled and lives on in her children and grandchildren, which brought her an extra measure of pride and joy.\r\n\r\nAlma was predeceased by her loving husband, Douglas P. Matthieu, and their first child, Mark. She is survived by her son Kirk and daughter-in-law Cathy, her daughter Stacie, her former son-in-law Tim, and her six grandchildren: Madison, Miller, Jackson, Reese, Gavin, and Clay, as well as Clay’s wife Ruthie and her only great-grandchild, William Dexter, fondly known as Dex. She is also survived by her beloved brother Kenny, brothers-in-law Arthur and Russel, and her nieces and nephews who she loved fondly -- with a very special place reserved in her heart for her nephew Kevin. \r\n\r\nShe was a fierce wife and mother, a tiny pillar of incredible strength, and she will be so deeply missed.