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Ladner Dies From Her Injuries

UMPI Holds Memorial Vigil

By: David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, November 27, 2013

Nearly two hundred people attended a candlelight memorial vigil for Abigail Ladner at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, a number that was dwarfed by her funeral attendance which was almost double that number.

Abby was in a head-on crash in Easton on October 27 where she suffered multiple broken bones, massive internal injuries and head trauma. After being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and undergoing multiple operations to try to save her, she died on November 15.

Abby was a 2012 graduate of Fort Fairfield High School and the 2011 Miss Fort Fairfield. She also recently won the title of 2013 Ms. Northern Maine, an accomplishment she and her family were very proud of.

In choosing her career path, Abby was indecisive at first. Starting with the idea to be a nurse, she changed her mind to Dental Hygienist before finally settling on the field of Social Work.

Nearly 200 people - a collection of both fellow students as well as adults - showed up at UMPI's campus center for a candlelight vigil in her memory.

“I'm amazed and I imagine how Abby might feel so happy to see all of you here,” Kim Anne-Perkins, Abby's faculty advisor and UMPI Social Work professor told the crowd of mourners. “You never know how many lives you touch and I think this is a wonderful testament to her that you've all taken time out of your evenings to be here in remembrance of a bright light.”

“I came to know Abby as her faculty advisor, which was a neat thing for me. As she met with me to get ready for this semester, she looked at me and said, 'I know what I want to do, I finally figured it out. I think I want to do social work.’ I knew Abby was going to be a wonderful contributor to the profession. She had all the right attributes. I'm so sad that that's not going to happen, but I take great pride in the fact that she came to this university and felt that she was going to be able to develop her life dream here.”

“People have said Abby was the sweetest person you could ever know and that she had the respect of everyone in the room,” said Barb Blackstone, who lead the memorial for Abby. “From the youngest to the oldest, everyone was drawn to her. She had a contagious smile, she was a very caring person, she was loving and had the biggest heart of anyone you would ever know. She was funny, beautiful, strong and smart, happy and very outgoing.”

After a 25 minute slide show presentation remembering her life, the memorial attendees signed custom luminary bags that were lit and displayed outside where a balloon release was conducted at the conclusion of the vigil.

The following day, Abby's funeral was held at Celebration Center in Fort Fairfield with Pastor Mark Babin officiating. Even though it is the largest church sanctuary in Fort Fairfield, there was a capacity crowd of nearly four hundred people with over one hundred people left standing in the filled-to-capacity church building. Parked cars for the funeral attendees lined Route 1 from the church for nearly three quarters of a mile, stretching to within 500 feet of the intersection of Route 1 and 167 letting everyone travelling that road on that day that someone very important and special to a whole lot of people had passed away and affected them in a deep and profound way.

According to Brooke Beaulieu, there will be a memorial supper for Abby on December 4. According to Beaulieu's Facebook post, “On behalf of White Smiles Family Dentistry and caring friends a Memorial Supper is being held in loving memory of Abby. It will be held at the Fort Fairfield Elementary School on December 4th (which is a Wednesday) from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. Our mission is to provide as much support and love for this family by coming together as a community, family and friends and helping in this time of need. Such a great opportunity to celebrate such a precious life. Cost for the supper will be $5 per person and donations will be accepted. Also we'll be doing a 50/50 drawing. 100% of proceeds will go to the family.”


photo/David Deschesne


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