Marion Gladys (Temple) Hellquist, age 79, passed away after a long illness on August 10 in Plano, Texas. She was born on June 25, 1942 in Framingham, MA to Malcom Chaplin Temple and Gladys Parker Temple. Marion was raised in Upton, MA and graduated from Northbridge High School (Northbridge, MA) in 1960. She graduated from Clark University in 1964 (Worcester, MA) with a B.A in Psychology and received a MS in Library Science from Simmons College (Boston, MA). She was a school librarian for most of her career in Hopkinton and Adams, MA. For 18 years until retirement, she was the librarian at Hoosac Valley High School (Adams-Cheshire, MA).
Marion was a world traveler throughout her life going to Kenya, Tanzania, and Greece before she was married. With husband Barre, she travelled to all 50 states, as well as all the Australian states and Canadian provinces. Marion spent countless hours with Barre in a canoe on waters from Maine to Manitoba during his botanical research. Marion was resolute on trips with varying degrees of difficulty. She spent eight weeks of tent camping in Newfoundland and endured black flies of nearly incomprehensible ferocity in Labrador. Undaunted, on an epic family road trip from Adams, MA to Alaska via the Alaska Highway she would experience mosquitoes above the Arctic Circle that made caribou shudder. She and Barre visited virtually every corner of Australia from the deserts to the tropics during 13 amazing trips where they befriended several Australian families. Her last major adventure was living in a FEMA trailer in Yellowstone National Park while Barre and Eric conducted an aquatic plant survey. In retirement, she and Barre relaxed at the family cottage on Lake Ossipee, NH.
Marion was a devoted mother who always had time to support Eric and Paul in their distinct interests and endeavors. She gamely accepted the challenges of living in a male dominated home where dirt would get trudged through the family room on soccer cleats, tennis balls would thump against garage doors, or a pet iguana would scurry down the hallway. She nurtured the individual curiosity of Eric and Paul with personal attention whether it was proofreading papers or special one on one trips. When Paul developed an interest in archaeology as a young teenager he learned of an excavation near the family summer home in New Hampshire. He was too young to participate on his own, but Marion volunteered to join the dig so that Paul could participate.
Being a grandmother to her two granddaughters, Noel and Anna, was a joy for Marion. She beamed watching Paul’s daughter Noel grow and experience the world. She was endlessly patient with and enthusiastic for toddler stories, games, and adventures. The stuffed animal menagerie was always organized and ready for fun when Noel would visit. And, of course, Marion was thrilled to read to Noel at any opportunity. Illness had taken virtually all of her language by the time Eric’s daughter Anna arrived. However, when Marion first met granddaughter Anna as an infant she looked at Anna and found the words to gently say, “Hi there!”
Raised on a farm, Marion was fond of nature and was a conservationist. Marion was always entertained by her “grand dogs” and amused by visitors to the family birdfeeders, especially the wild turkeys. She loved music and would enthusiastically sing at home, in the car, or in church. She enjoyed sporting events and inherited the Red Sox gene. She and Barre attended University of New Hampshire hockey games during their entire marriage. These games were a family tradition and attending the national “Frozen Four” college hockey championships became a regular spring event.
Marion was famously gregarious and could have a conversation with anyone. As children, Paul and Eric learned there was no such thing as a “quick trip” to the grocery store. Her outgoing nature and her curiosity allowed her to connect with people where ever she travelled. No matter where she was, Marion read voraciously. Her weekly front to back reading of the Boston Sunday Globe was legendary. Even the business and real estate sections never escaped her, and the family was often informed about house prices in greater Boston, even though they lived over 100 miles away. An enduring memory will be her reading at the kitchen table after dinner or near the fireplace of their Adams home.
At work, despite being a book person, she was not afraid of computers and their applications. Much to her credit, Marion was an early adopter of computer technologies ensuring her library and students were at the leading edge of technology before computers and barcodes were ubiquitous for managing collections. Being a librarian was a perfect match for her curiosity and her love of helping others. She would assist students with their research projects with an enthusiasm as if the project were her own, emerging from the stacks with books about an exciting topic she may never have known previously. At home, she often would be seen reading teen fiction so she could recommend books to students. Every year she would “adopt” the students who used the library regularly and made them part of her library family. As with her own children, enthusiastic encouragement was a given. She asked one student with an interest in architecture to help her redesign the high school library layout for greater efficiency. And working together, they did.
Besides reading, Marion also was drawn to hand crafts from a cultural perspective during family travels or as a practitioner including sewing, woodworking, and ceramics. A beautiful rough-hewn pine coffee table is a cherished testament to her skills. Sewing was also a life-long interest. Before retiring, she became an avid quilter with friends in New England and Australia. Marion scoured fabric stores for just the right fabric to represent her themed quilts for loved ones. Themes included favorite sports teams, waterlilies, ecosystems, or favorite places like Lake Ossipee, NH. Her beautiful quilts are widely distributed among family and friends. Marion made her quilts as she lived. Each stitch was sewn with unconditional love, generosity, and attentive devotion to the individuality of the people she loved.
Calling hours will be held from 5 to 7 PM on Friday, September 17, in the Pickering & Son Upton Funeral Home, 45 Main St. Upton.
Her funeral service will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, September 18, in the United Parish of Upton Church, 1 Church St. Upton. Burial will follow in Lakeview Cemetery, Upton.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Marion T. Hellquist Scholarship Fund to support college expenses of graduating seniors from Hoosac Valley High School in the Adams-Cheshire (MA) Regional School District or Reading is Fundamental (RIF).