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Karole Lynne Johnson

Date of Death: December 3, 2020

Date of Birth: March 31, 1954


Karole Lynne Johnson, 66, of CAPE ELIZABETH, ME, died peacefully on Thursday, December 3rd 2020, at Maine Medical Center surrounded by her family.  

The youngest of four children, she was born on March 31st 1954, to her loving parents Carolyn Johnson (Peterson) and Gordon Johnson in Caribou, Maine.  She grew up in the small town of Westmanland, Maine in Aroostook County on the Johnson family farm.  She would attend Caribou High School and graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976.

After just a short time working in nursing, Karole realized her true passion in life: helping those suffering with mental illness.  She believed the worst type of pain was those suffering from mental distress and wanted to do whatever it took to help anyone who was in pain. 

Karole began her career in healthcare in Southern Maine before moving to Washington D.C. to work at Georgetown University Hospital.  After a few years in our nation’s capital, she returned to Aroostook County to work in mental health in Caribou, ME.  Here, she would meet her future husband, Stephen Malenfant, a fellow nurse after he built up the courage to ask her out.

The couple would eventually move to Texas so Karole could obtain her Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1986 before returning to Maine.  They would start a family in Portland, Maine, giving birth to two sons, Caleb and Micah.  Karole was a beacon of the North Deering community of Portland for decades as she raised her boys while helping to improve the mental wellness of the Greater Portland area. 

She embodied exactly what a nurse is: a superhero on earth. 

The majority of Karole’s nursing career was spent as a nurse manager in the P6 unit at Maine Medical Center and at Spring Harbor Hospital.  She met many colleagues throughout the years that also became close friends.  Her peers were always attracted to her unconditional calm, kind, and caring demeanor.  She met so many wonderful healthcare workers through her work and kept in close contact with many of them throughout the years.  

In her final years before retirement, Karole served as Director and Associate Chief of Nursing at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook, ME before serving as the Senior Director of Behavior Health Services at Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC). Some of her final projects included supervising Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams across the Maine Behavioral Healthcare system, managing the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at SMHC, and leading early design work for the new inpatient behavioral health units in Sanford, ME. 

She had recently retired and was enjoying her new found open schedule to the fullest. 

Her greatest joy in life was being a mother.  Everything she did in life was for her family.  Along with her husband, Stephen, she was dedicated to building a beautiful home for their family and friends to enjoy.  They worked tirelessly on their old, iconic farmhouse in Portland, Maine to keep it a pillar of the North Dering neighborhood that so many cherished.  Unfortunately, Stephen passed away unexpectedly in 2012.  Karole was a rock for her family and sons during the difficult time after his passing.  In the past few years, she was blessed to meet her significant other, Ron, with whom she shared many exciting adventures. 

She loved lakes, ponds, the ocean, and all things to do with water.  She could spend all day swimming, kayaking, and just lounging around in floats with friends and family.  Even in the early spring and late fall, when the water wasn’t particularly warm, she’d exclaim, “it’s great to be alive in the north woods of Maine” in an attempt to encourage others to join her in the chilly water. 

Karole is survived by her beloved mother, Carolyn Johnson, of Topsham, ME, two sons, Caleb and Micah Malenfant, of Saco, ME, sister, Rebecca Johnson and her husband David Plourde, of Concord, NH, brother, Retired Admiral Gregory Johnson and his wife Carol Hancock, of Casco/Harpswell, ME, partner Ron Hiser, of Damariscotta, ME, as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends she would consider family. 

Karole’s passion of helping others lives on in her two sons who continue her work in the field of healthcare.  Caleb works in the field of disability insurance and Micah is a Doctor of Nursing Practice at her former employer, Maine Behavioral Healthcare

An outdoor celebration of life service will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in her and Stephen’s honor.  All funds contributed to the memorial will go toward a public granite bench in their names and a scholarship fund in their honor for aspiring nurses.  For more information and to contribute, please visit the following website link:




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