SCARBOROUGH- Martha Lincoln Smick died on September 29, 2022 of complications resulting from a fall.
Martha Lincoln was born in Boston and grew up living in Milton, Massachusetts, with her parents and three brothers. Early on, a favorite uncle began calling her ‘Muff’ or ‘Muffy’ from ‘Little Miss Muffet’. Mostly because he was a favorite uncle, his nickname stuck. She often said that they only people who called her Martha were her beloved father when he was being severe, her brothers when they wanted to tease her and a particular medical provider for whom she did not care.
Muffy graduated from Milton Academy and Mount Holyoke College. After graduation, she went to work in development for M.I.T. and then Harvard’s Medical School. It was with a good friend from The Medical School that Muffy began her lifelong pattern of travel - mostly to Europe and particularly to the United Kingdom . After a number of years at The Medical School, Muffy was persuaded to go to work for the Rivers School, then still called Rivers Country Day School, where her chief task was to help organise the school’s then Headmaster.
At one point, Muffy helped advise a young teacher at the school, who was planning a summer trip to the UK with some students. After his return, she invited him for dinner to hear how the trip had gone. That dinner led to others and the two found that they had a great deal in common. After about a year, the teacher asked Muffy to marry him.
This may sound very strange to modern ears, but in the early 1970s, many, if not most, Heads of Schools did not want to have both halves of married couples working in their schools. So Muffy and her fiancé made an appointment to see the David Berwind, who had recently become Rivers’ Headmaster, to seek his permission for both to be able to continue working at Rivers after they married. After consulting several people, Dave gave his permission. In an interesting illustration of how quickly mores in this area have changed, less than twenty years after Muffy and her fiancée felt obligated to ask if they could still work at the school after they married, a different Headmaster asked if there would be a significant problem if a male teacher was allowed to live in a school- owned house with a teacher of the opposite sex to whom he wasn’t married. Before another twenty years had passed, an unmarried same-sex couple was living together in school housing, and nobody seemed to mind.
Muffy ended up organising any number of things at Rivers, including faculty and student schedules, the bookstore, ceremonies such as Graduation – and the Board of Trustees as their Clerk.
The couple had been living on a farm in Concord, MA, but in 1975, they bought part of a large property in Medfield which was being broken up and developed by its owner, who happened to be a Rivers graduate.
Muffy worked hard to preserve open space in Medfield, serving The Trustees of Reservations as a Corporate Trustee, and the town as Chair of the Open Space Committee in which role she not only helped preserve several pieces of property, but also worked to preserve the land of the former Medfield State Hospital - land which the town was eventually able to purchase. “Walking the walk”, she and her husband gifted a conservation restriction on their small horse farm to The Trustees.
In 2015, Muffy and her husband moved to Piper Shores, a CCRC, (continuing care retirement community) in Scarborough on the coast of Maine. In 2019, Muffy’s fall and the resulting brain injury made that decision seem almost prescient.
As she wished, she was interred without any ceremony at Cedar Brook Burial Ground, a green burial cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, we would greatly appreciate contributions to Hospice of Southern Maine in Scarborough.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chad E. Poitras Cremation and Funeral Service, Buxton, www.mainefuneral.com