More Details About Paula Willoughby

Because we’ve had a few questions and a lot of interest in her story, we wanted to share some more about Paula Willoughby, whose generous donation is making it possible for non-residents to receive library cards free of charge!

Following her time in the Marine Corps, she worked for Stouffer’s in the 1980’s when frozen meals were first being introduced.  Paula worked at researching and developing products such as Lean Cuisine.  Later she changed her career to interior decorator where she could use her artistic skills in home designing.

After moving to San Luis Obispo, California, she met her future husband Louis Harper through a Marine friend.  Lou was a professor of agronomy at California Polytechnic University who would go anywhere Paula wanted as long as he had a book to read.  This brought about another change in career as a caterer at that school.  Paula, an avid reader and collector of cookbooks, was an excellent cook in her own right.  After Lou’s death she moved to Arizona where she enjoyed time with friends.

In addition to pursuing her passions far and wide, Paula kept in touch with her Maine roots. Her sister Sally Nuite, who lives in Sangerville, was an elementary school teacher in Dexter for many years. Sally’s husband, Bradley, who passed away in 2004, was an avid reader of history, both fiction and non-fiction. Bradley also graduated from UMaine and was a well-known dairy farmer in the area. 

Paula made frequent trips to the area, often staying with Bradley’s sister, Barbara Lockwood, and her husband Dave. Barbara started working at the Thompson Free Library in 1979 and has been a part of the TFL family ever since, as a librarian, volunteer, patron, and friend to all! She is currently on the library’s association and her daughter Amanda Maddocks is a member of the library’s Executive Committee.

Love for the Thompson Free Library shines through in every member of Paula’s extended family, so it is fitting that Paula left this generous gift to the library in her will in memory of her brother-in-law Bradley. Paula passed away in Sedona, Arizona in November of 2021.