Sunday, February 14, 2016

June Fine (1932–2016)


[June Fine, probably in the 1980s.]

Elaine’s mother June died peacefully this morning at the age of eighty-three. June was a courageous and creative woman who lived with considerable physical pain and ample reserves of humor. She contracted juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of eight and braved its effects for the rest of her life, relying on nothing more than aspirin as a counter-agent. When she was no longer able to play the flute, she turned to painting. When she was no longer able to paint or write (macular degeneration), she turned to collage. When she could no longer see, she became an indefatigable reader of audiobooks. (Most recently, Moby-Dick and Don Quixote .) She was always an indefatigable NPR fan. She wanted to live long enough to cast an absentee ballot for Bernie Sanders in the Massachusetts presidential primary, a matter of great importance to her. But the ballot she requested was lost in the mail or never sent.

June was independent, sometimes to a fault. It’s a great consolation to our family that in the last two years she gracefully accepted help when she could no longer manage daily life on her own. We saw June last weekend in Boston (for what we knew would be the last time) and had a wonderful visit, with some music, some talk about her paintings and her writing, and a story. Elaine read Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Pen and the Inkwell” to her mother, as her mother had read Andersen’s stories to her many years ago.

Elaine has written about her mother here.

comments: 10

Fresca said...

Aw, man... another one gone.

My condolences to you and Elaine on the death of her mother, June.

What a wonderful photo, it speaks volumes about the woman.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Fresca.

The Crow said...

If it's true that what we create is a reflection of ourselves, then June Fine was gracious, compassionate, beautiful, inclusive, sharing, gentle and strong. What a woman, what a mother! What a loss. I'm so very sorry for all her knew and loved her.

Elaine Fine said...

Thank you Fresca and Martha. My mother was indeed a remarkable person, and she kept her dignity and exercised her iron will to the very end. Her loss is felt and will continue to be felt by her friends and her family, but we are all the richer for having known her. I always felt that if she were not my mother she would be a person I would want to have as my friend.

Berit said...

So sorry to hear about your family's loss. It sounds like you had a pretty great visit together--a blessing.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Berit, from both of us.

Chris said...

Very sorry, Michael. What a nice tribute.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Chris.

Diane Schirf said...

My condolences. Great photo of a woman of character.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Diane. I put the news in a letter which didn't go out till today.