Laurie Pelletier Dow, 60, of Portland passed away peacefully on Monday August 5, 2019.
Laurie was born on Aug. 18, 1958 in Bangor, the daughter of John and Judith Pelletier. She spent her early childhood in Connecticut where her father was a teacher in Danielson and Washington Depot. The family moved back to Maine in time for her to start high school and graduate from Bonny Eagle High. Laurie studied pre-med at Bowdoin College where she graduated magna cum laude in 1980. She completed her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation for the Blind at Boston College in 1982. She was committed to her career in Rehabilitation and to her clients many of whom remember her kindness, diligence, and sharp mind.
Laurie was concerned about the welfare of the less fortunate from a young age starting with a letter she wrote to President John Kennedy when she was but a small child. She was passionate about civic responsibilities to lend a helping hand to empower others at their time of needs.
Following a devastating brain cancer diagnosis and aggressive treatment at age 34, Laurie, dedicated her life to manage her precarious health. Doctors thought she would survive but a few months, but to her credit, in addition to a superb medical team at Brigham & Women hospital and Dana Farber Cancer institute, she succeeded in extending her life by 27 years with her faith, her will to live and her own intelligent approach to manage her health needs.
Laurie married Rabih Dow in 1993 in between Chemo therapy treatments for her cancer. They treasured each other and their new lease on life together and travelled the world making the most of it. From her 1987 March on Washington, to watching a Space Shuttle launch, cheering Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela in rallies, attending Pope john Paul II Papal Audience, visiting ancient sites around the Mediterranean, losing herself in the Paris Museum of her beloved Monet, to meeting her music idol Jackson Browne, walking on volcanos and diving under the sea, attending congressional hearings, writing letters to government and business leaders, to sharing her positive outlook and gratitude with other cancer survivors and her doctors, Laurie lived her life to the fullest. Through it all, her faith provided her with inner peace, strong hope, and resilience.
In 2010, on a vacation to St. Lucia, Laurie suffered severe seizures resulting from long-term weakened brain tissues from the aggressive cancer treatment. The cascading effects rendered her bed ridden and progressively disabled within 5 months. She spent the last nine and half years of her life in nursing care. Yet, she handled it with humility and grace that she had demonstrated throughout her life. Family and friends drew strength from her radiant and disarming smile even after she lost her ability to speak in the last 3 years.
Laurie’s family would like to give a special thank you to the staff at the Barron Center in Portland for their compassion and their exceptional care.
She is survived by her husband, Rabih Dow of Portland ME and San Rafael CA; her father Jack Pelletier of Gorham; her sister, Lisa Surette and husband Adam of Limington; her brothers , John Pelletier, of Waterville, and Andrew Pelletier of Bingham; nieces, Tessa Surette of Limington, and Emily Pelletier of Bingham; nephews , John Pelletier Jr. of Ohio, and Nicholas Pelletier of Bingham. She was predeceased by her mother Judith Pelletier.
A private funeral service will be held at A. T. Hutchins Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Bingham Village Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Brigham & Women Hospital 75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115 or the Barron Center 1145 Brighton Ave, Portland, ME 04102