Cynthia Rowland Widdows

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  • "Our Deepest Condolences to Cynthia's family. Cynthia was a..."
    - Celia Wakefield
  • "Farewell, Cynthia. Your family is in my thoughts."
    - Betsy Feyling
  • "My deepest sympathy to Jennifer, Amy and Richard. May..."
    - M. Corinne (Dyer) Biehle
  • "I dearly wish I could have gotten to know her better when I..."
    - Brahn Smith
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PORTLAND - Cynthia Rowland Widdows of Portland, Maine, died on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at the Gosnell Hospice House. The cause of her death was congestive heart failure. Cynthia was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on May 29, 1934, to parents Anne Simpson and George Rowland. A lifelong Episcopalian, Cynthia grew up both in Pittsburgh and Long Island, N.Y. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire and the National Institute in Lay Training at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, Cynthia had a lifelong commitment to serving others through church, community and her profession that began with working on the Bowery of New York City with displaced children.

Professionally Cynthia worked as a Patient Representative at University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics and Rush Presbyterian St Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. In 1981 Cynthia decided that Portland, Maine and the ocean would provide a far better living environment. In Portland, Cynthia became the Assistant to the Bishop for Deployment and Commission Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, where she oversaw the process of matching clergy and congregations. In time, Cynthia returned to the medical world when she became a Medical Social Worker at Maine Medical Center.

Cynthia was deeply committed to her church, the Cathedral of St Luke's in Portland where she served as Warden (lay leader), vestry member, choir member and lector. She was deeply concerned with the health of others, and with her late husband, the Rev. John Widdows, helped to revitalize the Healing Team at the Cathedral. She was also involved in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, where she served on the Joint Disciplinary Board of the Ecclesiastical Trial Court.

In the 1980s, Cynthia led a powerful effort to respond to the needs of those suffering from the emerging AIDS crisis in Portland. In the face of great controversy, fear and pushback, Cynthia co-founded and became the first president of the AIDS Lodging House. In addition, Cynthia was invited to speak across New England and New York and to serve on a board advising health providers across New England.

Cynthia is survived by her children: Jennifer Love (Scott), Amy Witt (Hans Hackett), the Rev. Richard Witt (Tracy Leavitt); her stepdaughter, Kate Widdows; her grandchildren, Elijah and Spencer Love, Jesse Leavitt and Asa Leavitt Witt; Gabriela, Tatiana and Stefanie Quintanilla; her brother, Peter Rowland and her nephew, Jeff Rowland and niece Elizabeth Rowland; her cherished cousin, Sally Hamburger and her husband, Aaron; and her cat, Micah.

She was predeceased by her first husband, Richard Witt; and her beloved second husband, the Rev. John Widdows. Her humor, love of objet d'art and determination to live into each moment of life, will be missed.

As one last act of service, Cynthia has donated her body to medical research at the Anatomical Donor Program at the University of New England.

A memorial service for Cynthia will take place on Saturday Dec. 15 at 1 p.m., at the Cathedral of St Luke's in Portland.

To remember Cynthia, and in lieu of flowers donations, may be made to the outreach ministries of St Luke's Episcopal Cathedral in Portland.

Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Dec. 9, 2018
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