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Alice Mary Bean

April 9, 1932 ~ January 1, 2022 (age 89)


Alice Mary Fortin Fitzback Bean was born in South Portland Maine on April 9, 1932. Baptized at Holy Cross Church, South Portland ME. Her maiden name was Alice Fortin. She grew up around High and Fore streets, on the West End of Portland, Maine. Alice was always a west end gal whose love for the waterfront and the people lasted her lifetime.

Alice didn’t have a conventional home life in the usual sense, and her childhood was very difficult. Despite her early hardships in life, there were people and experiences from those days that she carried with her until the end with fond memories.

Alice drew much strength and comfort from the church “St. Dominic's Church” through her childhood. In tough times she sought and found safety in the church. The protection and comforting the nuns and priests provided were her saving grace. During her life she maintained a connection with her God In more of a personal way.

Alice met and fell in love with her soon to be husband “Durward Raymond Bean II “Woody””. After a time of courting, they were married. “Married July 4th, 1952, Wedding reception at Frye Hall, Spring Street, Portland, Maine, (St. Dominic's Parish) Portland, Maine.”

Alice and Woody wanted a big family and over time they had and raised six boys. Francis, Steve, Chuck, Raymond, Bob, and Joe. Alice was a devoted mother as she sacrificed much and always put her family first. Alice and Woody sadly lost three of their sons over the years and those losses took a toll.

Alice was primarily a wife and mother, but she took time to follow her calling. Alice found a way to be of service to people. She was a protector and fighter of the poor and underprivileged. In her early years she became a Visita Volunteer and served for a time. She also became a suicide prevention volunteer and spent many a night on the hot line counseling and comforting the desperate.

Alice really shined in her service to the poor and underprivileged in such a way that the Maine Times paper did a story on her and gave her the nickname “The Big Mama of Maine’s Poor”. The name was a good fit and it stuck. Alice was a force to be reckoned with, and as a lobbyist she accomplished much at the capital in Augusta on behalf of the poor and underprivileged. She was one of the leaders of a welfare rights advocacy group called “We Who Care”. She organized marches, fund raisers and community events to unite and uplift the people of Maine.

Alice was an artist, writer, and a crafter. She left behind many paintings and writings that will always be treasured. She was a disciplined genealogist with a drive for research and investigation that would be hard to match. She built a library of genealogy that she was proud of, and she had good right to be. 

She left a legacy of courage, strength, and indescribable determination. She loved to travel and loved the ocean. She loved people and loved to laugh and get loud. A woman of incredible compassion and insight. She fought a good fight, and with dignity and honor, she is now at peace, with her Heavenly Father.

Survived by her Husband Woody Bean of New Gloucester, son Chuck and his wife Colleen of New Gloucester, son Bob and his wife Debbie of Gray, and son Joe of New Gloucester, as well as a long line of grand and great grandchildren and their families.

There will be a small graveside service this spring as Alice will be interned at the New Gloucester Cemetery beside her sons Francis and Raymond. Her son Steve is at rest in Calvary Cemetery in South Portland ME.


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