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Janet Burr McGuire
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Obituary for Janet Burr McGuire

Scarborough- Janet Burr McGuire, 88, of Scarborough, Maine passed away peacefully on April 29, 2018, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. A “True Mainer”, she was born to Alexander and Elizabeth Whittier Burr on September 22, 1929, the eldest of three children, in Kennebunk. She and her siblings grew up in the bucolic, seaside town of 6,000 residents amid a large, extended family, where her parents operated the local florist business. After grade school in a two-room schoolhouse with a wood stove, she graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1947 and left to attend Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she earned a BA degree in Literature.

Her work skills were honed on several work-study job assignments while in college including radio broadcast script typist in Chicago at NBC and ABC, Occupational Therapist Aide at Fairfield State Hospital in Fairfield, Connecticut, secretary “floater” and switchboard operator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and asst. personnel director at Antioch for a year after graduation in 1952.

After meeting her future husband of 59 years, Stuart McGuire from Malden, MA, on Kennebunk Beach during a summer break, they were also together in the mid-west as Stu attended Ohio State University in Columbus, just up the road from Yellow Springs. After his acceptance to the University of Michigan medical school, they moved to Ann Arbor with their newborn son, Todd, where Jan received her Master’s in Education. This prepared her to teach 4th grade for three years in Indianapolis when they moved there for Stu’s residency in ophthalmology.

The family returned to New England in 1966 when Stu set up private practice in Portland and they settled into their home on Sylvan Rd. in So. Portland. Daughter Christine was welcomed into the family the next year and Jan began a long-term commitment to volunteering for several service organizations and her church where she provided writing, typing and editing services for newsletters and flyers, even after the family moved to West Falmouth in 1976.

Janet was also an accomplished knitter and stitcher, creating beautiful and useful items amongst a circle of her closest friends. She was an excellent cook and devoted home maker who was also a source of support and friendship for her neighbors. She continued her love of reading throughout her life and maintained an amazing recall of life details of friends and extended family members.

The family was fortunate enough to have a vacation home in Rangeley, Maine where they spent summers and as much additional time as possible as the children grew up. It was always where they would “rather” be and life long bonds with the area and the people there were formed. Jan and Stu continued to summer there after the house was sold in the early ‘90s.

Janet is survived by her sister, Ellen Taylor and her husband Jim of St. Albans, West Virginia, her brother Alexander Burr III of Memphis, TN; daughter, Christine Scammell and granddaughters, Hallie and Madison of Scarborough; and son, Todd and his wife Rebekah and granddaughters, Molly and Abigail of Port Townsend, WA. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Stuart and son-in-law Kerry Scammell.

The family will be conducting a private memorial in the coming months and wishes to extend their gratitude to supportive friends and the caring staff of Hospice of Southern Maine.

Arrangements are under the direction of Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State Street, Portland, Maine. To view Janet’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit

Those who wish may make contributions in Janet’s memory to: Hospice of Southern Maine, US Route 1 Suite #1, Scarborough, ME 04074

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Janet Burr McGuire, please visit our Tribute Store.

Memorial Contribution

Hospice of Southern Maine

180 US Route 1 Ste. 1
Scarborough, Maine 04074

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