Greta A. Cianchette, 86, died on June 8 after a period of declining health.
She was born on October 22, 1932, in Caribou, Maine, one of nine children born to Arthur and Leona (Desjardins) Ouillette. She married Joseph R. Cianchette, Jr in 1953. They shared 65 years of marriage and raised seven children together.
Her second born, Joseph R. Cianchette, III, was born with Down Syndrome in 1957, at a time when Pineland was the only option for children with intellectual disabilities. Determined to give her a son a better life, Greta and another parent started a program which grew from a handful of families working out of a church basement into the Marie Bradford School. She was also well regarded by her patients at the office of Dr. Richard Huber where she worked as a dental assistant.
She enjoyed gardening, canning and pickling. She was known for her spaghetti sauce and chocolate chip cookies. She was an accomplished seamstress, making her own dresses, clothes for her children and prom dresses for her daughters. She was also a great cribbage player. Greta was a devoted member of St. Agnes Catholic Church and became a Eucharistic minister, bringing communion to those unable to attend services.
She is survived by her husband, Joseph Cianchette, Jr. of Detroit; her children: Laura Cianchette and partner Dan Kolbert of Portland, James Cianchette of Pittsfield, Christopher Cianchette and wife Val of Dunnellon, FL, Michael Cianchette of Pittsfield, Patricia Skirnick and husband Steve of Perryville, MD and Amy Donaghy and husband Sean of Washington, Maine; 15 grandchildren; 1 great grandchild; siblings: Reginald Ouillette and wife Theresa of Caribou, Mona MacBain of Clinton, CT and Sheila Jacobson and husband Wendell of Raymond; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents; son Joseph Cianchette, III; two grandchildren: Benjamin Cianchette and Emily Cianchette; daughter-in-law, Jane Cianchette; and siblings: Arthur Ouillette, Kathleen Karr, Richard Ouillette, Joyce Theriault, and Ruth Vermette.
Friends wishing to honor Greta’s memory are encouraged to donate to the Special Olympics of Maine, 125 John Roberts Road, #5, South Portland, ME, 04106, www.somaine.org.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, June 16, 2019, at the Shorey-Nichols Funeral Home, 191 Hartland Avenue, Pittsfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, June 17, at the St. Agnes Catholic Church, 238 Detroit Avenue, Pittsfield.
A committal will immediately follow at the Village Cemetery, Peltoma Avenue, Pittsfield. A gathering will follow the committal in the Parish Hall and all are welcome.
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