Irene Sampson Zeller (1920 - 2019)

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Service Information
Wood Funeral Home
9 Warren St
Fryeburg, ME
Memorial service
Saturday, Jul. 6, 2019
11:00 AM
Lovell United Church of Christ
Center Lovell, ME
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SCARBOROUGH - Irene Sampson Zeller, 98, passed away on May 4, 2019, at Piper Shores Lifecare Community in Scarborough. Born on June 29, 1920, Irene was the third of four children for Bertha Wood Sampson from Belle Fourche, S.D., and George Arthur Sampson from Middleboro, Mass. She grew up in Newton, Mass., and then attended Mount Holyoke College. A favorite adventure was one taken in 1941 between junior and senior years with three college friends. They toured the western states and Canadian Rockies for seven weeks in a convertible, sometimes sleeping on the ground next to it. Irene graduated with an A.B. in chemistry in 1942, which segued into a job at Arthur D. Little in Cambridge.

While on a college Outing Club trip at Mt. Greylock, Irene met George William Zeller. They married a few years later while George served in the Army Air Corp during World War II. The young couple started a family and moved to Scarborough, a special place for Irene since she had spent summers during her childhood at Higgins Beach with her family.

They subsequently moved to Sayville, Long Island, N.Y., where they raised six children and where Irene was involved with the Girl Scouts and the Village Improvement Society. Starting in 1969, she and George spent summers and winter vacations at their lake cottage in Lovell, enjoying boating, hiking, skiing and golf.

Irene was an accomplished amateur photographer. She enjoyed heading out either by car or by boat with camera and dog at her side. Her love of nature was evident in stunning landscapes and wildflower close ups. A highlight was having a photo on the cover of a book published by Down East.

After George's death in 1986, Irene started living in Lovell all year round even though she was quite isolated once the summer visitors left. Her determination and cleverness, her Golden Retrievers, her jeep, and her generator got her through many harsh winters. Many noted that she was like a real pioneer woman.

Irene served as president of the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library Board for three years. Her organizational skills and early interest in the Mac computer were assets as coordinator of exhibitors for the Lovell Arts and Artisans Fair, the largest annual fundraiser for the library. Irene was proud that the reputation of an already popular fair was bolstered when, in her capacity as chairperson, she helped establish the requirement that exhibitors be juried.

As an active member of the Lovell United Church of Christ, Irene participated in the Bible Study Group, the Handbell Ringer's Choir, and the Ladies Circle Group. Being a talented knitter, she enjoyed making items for the annual Christmas fair.

Irene returned to the Higgins Beach area in Scarborough as a Pioneer resident of Piper Shores in 2001 and enjoyed spending time between her beloved ocean and lake. She was delighted as life came full circle when her sister, Clara Sampson Shinn, and husband, George, also moved to Piper Shores.

Survivors include five devoted daughters: Cheryl Jean Cameron and her husband, Burns, of Standish; Christine Zeller Dunleavy soon to be of Scarborough; Pamela Zeller and her partner, James Siler, of Saco; Cynthia Zeller Hills and her husband Jack of White Rock, N.M.; Marilynn Zeller and her husband, Ned James, of Ashfield, Mass., and three loving grandchildren: Erica Ashley Hills, Clara Wood James, and Russell Sampson James. She was preceded in death by her husband George and her son William Sampson Zeller.

The family would like to express their appreciation for the kindness and care Irene received at Piper Shores, particularly in Assisted Living and the Holbrook Health Center.

A memorial service will be held at the Lovell United Church of Christ in Center Lovell on July 6, at 11 a.m.

Arrangements are in the care of Wood Funeral Home, Fryeburg. Words of condolence and tribute may be shared with the family at

If so desired, contributions to Irene's memory may be made to one of the following organizations:

Charlotte Hobbs

Memorial Library

P.O. Box 105

Lovell, ME 04051,

or, Lovell United Church of Christ

P.O. Box 232

Lovell, ME 04051

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on May 11, 2019
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