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Giberson estate donates $500,000 to alumni association in Houlton

HOULTON, Maine — Maxine B. Giberson, and her husband Hamilton, were both strong presences in the SAD 29 system. And now, thanks to her generosity, the Gibersons’ presence will be felt for many years to come.

Maxine, a native of Danforth who later called Houlton home for many years, died in January at the age of 102. Hamilton passed away in 1993. Maxine served as a third grade teacher at Houlton Elementary School for 14 years, while Hamilton served as the district’s superintendent. They both retired from RSU 29 in 1977.

Olive N. Shu of Dunedin, Florida, a niece to the Gibersons, was in Houlton Friday to present a $500,000 check to the Houlton High School Alumni Association on behalf of the Giberson’s estate.

“Obviously we are thrilled by this donation,” Alumni President Nancy Ketch said Friday. “We started the endowment fund nearly 20 years ago. With this donation, we will surpass the million dollar mark and actually be fairly close to $1.5 million.”

The estate of Hamilton and Maxine Giberson donated $500,000 to the Houlton High School Alumni Association Friday. Hamilton served as superintendent for a number of years, while Maxine was a long-time third grade teacher. The couple retired from SAD 29 back in 1977. (Courtesy of Giberson Family)

The investment income from the bequest will be used to establish a scholarship fund to aid graduating Houlton High School  seniors who are seeking to further their education.

“For both Maxine and Hamilton, education was a lifelong pursuit, vocation and passion,” Shu said. “They met as young teachers in Oakland. Hamilton’s teaching career was put on hold by World War II, [when he served] overseas in North Africa and the Middle East. When the war was over, they married and resumed joint careers in various educational positions throughout the state.”

The couple came to Houlton in 1963, and enjoyed spending time at their cottage in Danforth. While he was superintendent in SAD 29, Hamilton Giberson oversaw the construction of a new middle school and a new elementary school in Houlton; a new gymnasium in Monticello; new classrooms in Littleton; and the creation of an adult education program. He also served as president of the Maine Superintendent’s Association.

Ketch noted that Maxine remained active with the alumni association for many years following her retirement and on her 100th birthday two years ago, she became a “lifetime member” of the group.

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