Dr. Mildred L. Byrum, beloved wife, mother, therapist and friend, died peacefully at her home in Surry, ME May 13, 2022, surrounded by her family, wife Marcia Tompkins, daughter Sharana Byrum, and son-in-law Jesse Benjamin. Millie was a warm, kind, honest person, full of integrity, who valued the importance of feelings of all kinds, felt or expressed. She will be greatly missed.
Millie suffered a stroke six years earlier but had made significant progress. Since November she was living with kidney failure. Her death was caused by these accumulating health issues, exacerbated by a recent fall in her home.
Millie was born November 15, 1931, in Onida, S.D., daughter of Oliver and Edith Byrum. She was one of six children: sisters Lois, Mabel, Alice, brother Oliver, now deceased, and surviving brother Laurence (Karen).
Born in the depression, she was the first in her family to go to college, paying her own way working in the college cafeteria and later in local health and children’s institutions. She graduated summa cum laude in the late-1950’s and achieved her Ph.D. in the mid-1960’s in clinical psychology. Shortly thereafter, she moved to NYC with her infant daughter where she lived happily the majority of her life as a New Yorker. For 30 years she was the chief psychologist for Hamilton Madison Settlement House, while maintaining a private therapy practice for more than 50 years. In her 70’s, she achieved a long-held goal of becoming a psychoanalyst, studying with Martin Bergmann and Murray Salinger.
She learned Mandarin, studied, and practiced meditation, and later became a gifted artist and watercolorist. Long time summer residents, she and her partner of 53 years moved full time to Maine several years ago.
A memorial service will be held 3:00pm, Friday, May 20, at The Gatherings, Surry’s Community Center. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Millie’s favorite charities: Doctors Without Borders, Sustainable Harvest International, or any local no-kill animal shelter or sanctuary. Condolences may be expressed at www.acadiacremation.com.
Millie’s family wishes to thank the staff at Beacon Hospice, Friendship Cottage, Dr. Anita Kolisch, and the individual caregivers who took such wonderful care of Millie, including: Brianna Alley, Roni Bloom, Pam den Haan, Catherine Lloyd, Kate Robinson and Cassie Vogell.
Mildred had an amazing life. I did not see her much in recent years but was able to spend some time with her when I visited New York a few years ago. So glad I did. Marcia, Sharana, and Jesse I know she will be greatly missed. My thoughts have been with you and with Mildred these past few days. I have been thinking about when she lived in Minneapolis when my family did and we met baby Sharona for the first time. Mildred made a good life for herself and her family.
I was so sorry to hear of Millie’s passing. In the short time I knew her it was clear to me that she was a dear, kind, sweet person. She will be missed at our painting group. My deepest sympathy to those she left behind.
Please count me in with all of Millie’s friends who will miss her smile. We so enjoyed her presence at Wednesday Painters and will remember her, her art, and her charm. Fortunate we are for Millie’s lasting influence.
My sincere condolences Marcia
Millie and I had some wonderful times together as colleagues at Hamilton-Madison House. Millie cared about every patient she saw and treated them with the dignity she felt that they so deserved. We laughed together many times. She will be greatly missed.You we’re so lucky to have her in your lives for so many years.Cherish all of your memories.
My sincere condolences.
My sincere condolences
Dearest Sharana and Marcia, I am so very sorry to hear of Millie’s passing. I have so many happy memories of weekends with you all. My love and prayers are with you.