The Star-Herald

County Face: Mary Ann Marciniak of Houlton

At first, Mary Ann Marciniak wasn’t so sure about the idea of coming to Houlton.

The daughter of Betty and Hiram Childers, Mary Ann grew up in Cincinnati where her dad worked for the B&O railroad. The family later moved to New York. While there, they found their way to Maine to spend vacations visiting relatives.

“Dad always said if there’s ever a job opening in Maine he was going to take it,” she explained.  

Hiram got his chance when a position with the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in Houlton was available. That was around 1968 when Mary Ann was graduating from nursing school at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, the oldest and one of the biggest hospitals in the country.

“I was engaged and Bill [my fiance] was due to return from a tour in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. We were originally going back to New York to be married,” explained Marciniak.

She wasn’t quite convinced when her mother Betty told her about some of the nice hotels in Houlton that would be perfect for a wedding, but Mary Ann ended up with a free weekend and, well, as they say, the rest is history. When Bill finished his tour, he and Mary Ann did end up getting married in one of Houlton’s “really nice hotels,” and the couple found a home in Houlton.  

“We lived in a little apartment up over French’s Drug Store and Bill would walk across the street to work at Houlton Trust and I went up the street to work at the Madigan Hospital,” she said.   

The 40-bed Madigan Hospital was a smidge different than Mary Ann’s old 2,000-bed Bellevue, but she loved the small-town hospital and staff. One of the physicians had actually trained at Bellevue.

When the Madigan Hospital closed, Mary Ann helped move patients to the new Houlton Regional Hospital and worked in a variety of different departments.

“I ended up working everywhere,” she said. “I worked in Labor and Delivery,  Emergency Room and Intensive Care as well as the Medical-Surgical Wing. I helped establish the Education Department for ongoing training of hospital staff and patient education.”

She also went on to help develop the Industrial Health and Safety component for the hospital.  

Over the years, Bill and Mary Ann raised two children here in Houlton. Mary Ann also found time to head back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in administration. Also, through extra study and a special exam, she earned her occupational health nurse certification.  

After 25 years with the hospital, Mary Ann went on to work for MEMIC (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company) for 14 years and then topped off her career with a couple of years at The Madigan House.  

“I was very lucky in my work life,” she said. “With each position, I learned so much and grew as a professional. I will cherish every moment for many years to come.”  

These days, Mary Ann spends time golfing, knitting, sewing and spoiling their new Corgi pup. She and her husband also love to spend part of their year in Florida.  

“We’re so lucky. I always hoped we could spend some time here. I have one sister here that’s retired. And my oldest brother is here,” she said. “We love it.”  

They also love spending time with friends and family, including their two children: Andy, who still lives in Houlton, and Anne, who lives in Cincinnati.  

“Bill and I never regretted coming to Houlton to raise our children,” she reflected. “Houlton is full of wonderful people who care. I’m so pleased my kids had the opportunity to grow up in such a great community.”

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