SCARBOROUGH -- Starr Adamo, 61, of New Portland, died on Feb. 20, 2011 at Gosnell Hospice House after a long and courageous battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
She was born on Dec. 6, 1949 in Farmingtom and was adopted soon after birth by John and Ruth (Robbins) Adamo of Wilton. Starr grew up in Wilton and attended Wilton schools, graduating from Wilton Academy in 1968. From an early are, she was interested in art and was encouraged in her talent by her parents.
While growing up, she took lessons in modern jazz and ballet from Bradley Adams. Starr also took are lessons for several years from a friend and neighbor, the late Maxine Ryan, whom she said inspired her with the idea to use freedom in her own creativity in her art.
Starr went on to attend the Univ. of Maine at Gorham from which she graduated in 1971 with a B.S. degree in Art Education, having completed four years' work in three. While at college, she served as a resident assistant in her dorm for two years and was a member of the Modern Dance Club and the student senate, and was consistently on the dean's list. She also taught at the Waynflete School in Portland during her senior year. As her senior project, she had an art exhibit at the Wilton Free Public Library.
After graduation from Gorham, she held positions as supervisor in Lewiston schools, at Oxford High School, Wilton Academy and at Methuen, MA High School. In 1982, while living in Windham, she served as alcohol abuse counselor at St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston for several years and then held a similar position in Franklin County.
In 1987, she and her partner, Beverly Francis, founded Thunder Ridge Kennels in New Portland, where they raised German shepherds for 10 years. During this time, one of their dogs won second place at a Westminister Dog Show in New York City. Later, the two women changed from raising large dogs to tiny Yorkshire Terriers, which they bred and sold, often to out-of-state buyers. They also had a boarding kennel, and boarded the dogs of a member of the famous Von Trapp family from Austria. Many dog owners who came to ski at Sugarloaf from all over the country boarded their dogs at Thunder Ridge for different periods of time; from a few days to weeks or even months.
Beverly completed a course in dog grooming in New York and continued until it was discovered that she had breast cancer and could not serve their clientele. Starr learned this skill and continued it until 2009. At that time, Cardio Pulmonary Disease (COPD) overtook her, but she and Beverly still maintained the kennel as much as possible.
After Starr began to spend brief periods at hospitals and nursing homes, which became more frequent as the disease progressed, she started drawing again. Although her condition was now complicated by painful osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, she originated a new style of drawing, which she called "stream of consciousness." Segments of each drawing were united by a common "stream" and these were related subjects which came to her mind as she sketched. One could look at a drawing many times and see some other sketch one had missed before.
The story of these drawings was published in the Sun Journal in December 2010, announcing an exhibit in Kingfield. Whether she was in a nursing home or a hospital, her talent and upbeat attitude toward life inspired staff members and other patients.
Starr had an outgoing personality, maintained an interest in different subjects and was always ready to listen to other people's concerns and problems. In later life, she established contact with her birth mother and siblings, and maintained that connection.
To her adoptive parents and sister, she was a joy and will be greatly missed. Many late night telephone conversations took place between she and her mother.
Starr is survived by her partner, Beverly Francis of New Portland; her mother, Ruth R. Adamo of Wilton; her sister, Michelle Ouellette of Lisbon; two special cousins, Frank and Michael Masiello of New Jersey; her nephew, Jesse Jones and his wife, Sandra of Lisbon; her niece, Torri Nolan and her husband, Mark of Lewiston; two grand-nephews and many special friends.
She was predeceased by her father, John Adamo.