News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 28, 2018
Weed, Ellis honored at retirement party

Happy retirement

Just about 200 people gathered at the Deer Isle Town Office on June 24 to celebrate the retirements of former Deer Isle tax collector Myra Weed and former selectman Lewis Ellis. Pictured, Lewis Ellis and Myra Weed celebrate their retirement at a party.

Photo courtesy of the Weed Family

by Monique Labbe

Two familiar faces were honored for their service to the town during a retirement party on June 24 at the town office. Family members, friends and former coworkers came out to celebrate former tax collector Lorraine “Myra” Weed and former selectman Lewis Ellis, who both retired this year.

At the age of 85, Weed has spent all but the first two weeks of her life in Deer Isle.

Born in Massachusetts, Weed came to the island two weeks after she was born and grew up to graduate from Deer Isle High School before its merger with the high school in Stonington.

With a mind for numbers, Weed started what would become a 60+ year career in bookkeeping right out of high school. She worked at Arthur Barter’s store, located above the Periwinkle, for 16 years before moving on to work at Perrini Granite, Eaton Oil Company and Bob Adams Architecture Company.

With over 20 years of experience under her belt, Weed was named the Deer Isle Tax Collector in 1986, under selectmen Neville Hardy, Victor Welcome and Robert Haskell. She held that position at the Deer Isle Town Office for 32 years and retired in the winter of 2018.

“I never knew I’d be there for so long,” said Weed with a chuckle. “But I just liked it so much. And it was only a three-mile drive to work every morning.”

Weed balanced her work and home lives for much of her time as tax collector. She raised her five children—Jerry, Terri-Lee, Sandy, Mike and Michelle—with her husband Cleveland, all while being the face of the town office.

At the June 24 party, Linda Stratton said of Weed’s parenting: “[Weed] obviously passed on to her children her passion for work. Just follow in the footsteps of any of those five for a day, they don’t stop.”

Spending time with her children and grandchildren was one of the things that prompted Weed to finally retire this year.

“I’m 85 years old, if I want to spend time with the kids, I need to do it now,” she said.

Weed has also taken advantage of the time off to do some traveling. Since retiring in March, she has been on vacation to Florida and the island of St. Kitts.

“That was just beautiful,” she said of the latter trip. “It was such a great time.”

During her 32 years at the town office, Weed said she saw many employees come and go, but each and every one of them left an impression on her. Weed got to catch up with many of those people at the party returning to celebrate her and Ellis’s retirements.

“There were about 200 people there, it was just amazing,” she said. “I loved everyone that I worked with, it’s one of the things that kept me there for so long. Everybody was so good to me, I just enjoyed it.”

In addition to being presented with a plaque at the party, Weed’s office, affectionately known as “Myra’s room,” was dedicated to her for years of service to the town.

“I guess it was my room,” she said. “I was certainly there long enough.”

Lewis Ellis retires from board of selectmen

Former selectman Lewis Ellis was also honored at the June 24 party. Ellis, who declined an interview for personal reasons, served on the Deer Isle Board of Selectmen for 18 years. Ellis joined the board in 1999, along with Twyla Weed, as Victor Welcome and Robert Haskell retired that year.

According to a statement read aloud by Linda Stratton during the retirement party, Ellis approached then selectman Neville Hardy about running for first selectman.

“Nope,” Hardy is said to have replied. “You can’t, I already got someone lined up. You can have the third selectman job.”

Ellis accepted, and after over a decade on the board was finally named first selectman in 2017.

Ellis has also had a hand in working on various Deer Isle village revitalization projects, which he began while still in the selectmen’s office.