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Louisa Coffin Witte

Date of Death: July 10, 2020

Date of Birth: August 1, 1928


Louisa Coffin Witte of Falmouth, Maine, died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family on July 10, 2020.  She was 91 years old. 

Loved for her humor and her unfailing ability to put anyone at ease, Lisa was a champion of family and friends whom she supported with generosity, love, and optimism. She was a friend to all who knew her, full of energy and always ready to share a laugh or meet someone new.  Lisa had a curiosity and optimism with which she greeted every day.  Even later in her life with its added challenges, Lisa’s bravery and determination for facing life head-on stood out in a generation famous for its courage.

Born on August 1, 1928 in New York, New York to Dr. George Jarvis Coffin and Louisa Raven Coffin, Lisa was brought up in New York City and East Jewett, New York.  She attended the Chapin School in New York and St. Mary’s-in-the-Mountains (now The White Mountain School) in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, graduating in 1945.  Lisa then went to the Childrens Education Foundation (later part of Adelphi University), earning a BS in education, the start of a long career in early childhood education and a lifelong devotion to children.  Her teaching career began in Washington and California before she returned east.

Lisa married Nicholas Hoyt Witte on August 9, 1952 in Tannersville, New York.  Following their marriage, they lived in New York City before moving to northern Westchester County, New York after the birth of Mary, the first of their five children.  Settling in Bedford Hills, New York, Lisa and Nick brought up their family while becoming involved in the local community.  Lisa volunteered at many organizations, including Northern Westchester Hospital and Planned Parenthood.  Throughout their years in Bedford Hills, Lisa and Nick returned often to the Catskill Mountains and to Little Deer isle, Maine.

Once the youngest of the family reached school age, Lisa returned to teaching, working at Rippowam-Cisqua School in Bedford and Mount Kisco, New York.  Over the following two decades, Lisa enjoyed working with dozens of colleagues while positively influencing hundreds of young learners.  Lisa and Nick moved to Freeport, Maine in 1990.  They immediately established new connections and made another multitude of friends.  They joined the South Freeport Congregational  Church where they sang in the choir.  Singing was part of Lisa’s every day, with a song for any occasion, and a request to please sing all the verses. Lisa volunteered at Midcoast Hospital, Coastal Humane, and the Freeport Historical Society.

Lisa was an avid outdoorswoman and lover of nature her entire life.  From her earliest childhood playing in the Catskill Mountains to enjoying Bedford Hills and Little Deer Isle, Maine to walking with her dogs in Freeport and Falmouth, Maine, Lisa adored being outside with Nick, family, and friends.  In her schooldays, she thrilled to ski in the White Mountains, usually skinning up the ascent without the aid of a chairlift.  Later, Lisa loved trekking across the Yorkshire moors with Nick in regular visits to England.   Her knowledge of nature was surprisingly broad as she named diverse birds, ferns, wildflowers, and trees with an unfussy ease.  In particular, she loved owls, stars, and mountains. Her favorite authors included the poets Kenneth Nye, Mary Oliver, and the Rev. Bishop Steven Charleston.

Whether walking with an old friend, connecting with a young student, or meeting someone new, Lisa had an amazing way with people.  She was open, honest, and ready to share-- a winning combination which earned her the trust and love of nearly everyone she met.  In a conversation or relationship, Lisa was fully present, making you the center of her attention, enjoying her time with you.  She was equally comfortable with all ages and backgrounds, never assuming and always willing to forgive.  All of her friends knew Lisa as tirelessly supportive and caring.

Lisa is survived by Nick, her husband of 68 years, the true love of her life.  She is also survived by four children, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.  Lisa’s children are Sarah Witte of Yarmouth, ME, Lizzie McIntire of Yarmouth, ME, Nick Witte of Cumberland, ME, and Ned Witte of Milwaukee, WI.  Lisa’s firstborn child, Mary, died at the age of four in 1958.  Lisa was predeceased by her sister Nancy Coffin Wyeth and brother George Jarvis Coffin, Jr., who were her lifelong friends. Lisa was also predeceased by her 20 canine companions, all beloved friends.  In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to Coastal Humane, 20 Range Road, Brunswick, ME 04011 or Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 784 Hercules Drive, Suite 110, Colchester, VT 05446


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