Sally Tubbesing

sallySarah Louise Capps Tubbesing, known from birth as Sally, passed away on December 14 at her home in Freeport, Maine.  She was 74.  That morning, she and her husband Carl listened to Maine Public Classical, as they often did throughout the day, but at noon she turned to Carl and said, “Play some jazz.”  Twenty minutes later she had passed to where Bill Evans plays nightly in a club around the corner, Ella Fitzgerald scats her way through the Great American Songbook, Glenn Gould hums along as he interprets and re-interprets the Goldberg Variations and Gustav Mahler infuses the majestic Resurrection Symphony with his personal, impulsive style. 

Music, whether classical or jazz, was only one of Sally’s many abiding passions.  She reveled in her granddaughters, Hannah and Ainsley McIver, and her step-daughter, Laura Tubbesing McIver.  She showered similar affection on dear, life-long friends, including Lynn and Chuck Mills and Susan and Peter Betzer and their families. Mt. Holyoke College, the institution and the indelible friendships she made there, was a defining feature of her life. Chebeague Island was in her DNA (her parents met there as children) and, after she retired from her professional career, Sally devoted unstinting energy to many of the island’s non-profit organizations.  She was an inspirational leader of the Chebeague Library, recognizing it as the indispensable resource it is to the Chebeague community.  For over ten years, Sally was the piano accompanist for The Whalers, the island’s choral group, helping lead it with her musicianship, administrative skills and good humor.  Her cookie baking brought acclaim, not only on Chebeague, but throughout Casco Bay.  Of all her Chebeague activities, though, perhaps most cherished were the early morning hours spent on the family cottage porch, drinking coffee, watching birds and chatting with her husband.  Sally was an enthusiastic volunteer for Maine Public Radio, relishing the 6:00 a.m. shift during its fund-raising Super Thursdays.  She was devoted to her family, including her parents, dear sister, brother and to her husband Carl, the love of her life.  A friend wrote to him, “So many people lost a friend today and your loss is beyond imagination.”

Sally was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, the daughter of Stephen Reid Capps III and Katharine Rose Swenarton Capps and spent her childhood in Ft. Wayne and Tiffin, Ohio.  She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1965, later earning Masters degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.  At Mt. Holyoke, she was involved in numerous leadership activities and was dedicated to the college throughout her life through her involvement with the Alumnae Association.  Her early career included positions with the School of Social Services at the University of Chicago, Arthur Young & Co., and the Center for Social Policy. Later, she served for 18 years as the Executive Director of the Legislative Council of the Maine State Legislature, helping it through an intensely productive period of modernization.  She gained the respect of her peers in other state legislatures through her work with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Sally concluded her professional career as a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. 

Sally is survived by her husband, Carl D. Tubbesing of Freeport and Chebeague Island, Maine; her step-daughter, Laura Tubbesing McIver and granddaughters Hannah Claire McIver and Ainsley Caitlin McIver of Los Angeles; sister Rosemary Capps Merchant of Oakland, California and her husband John and their extended, blended family;  Stephen Reid Capps IV of Mt. Airy, Maryland and his wife Linnea;  nieces Katharine Cahill and Jennifer Capps and grand-nephew Michael Cahill; brother-in-law Kenneth Tubbesing, sister-in-law Julie Tubbesing of Tecumseh, Nebraska, and nieces Tara, Leah and nephew Isaac Tubbesing. 

A memorial service for Sally Tubbesing will be held on August 11 at the Chebeague United Methodist Church at 11:00 a.m. It will feature music that was meaningful for Sally, as well as remembrances by friends and family. A reception at the Chebeague Community Hall will follow the service.  Contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Chebeague Island Library, 247 South Road, Chebeague Island, Maine 04017.

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