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In Memoriam: Lea Wait
By Kathryn Gandek-Tighe
Posted on 8/16/2019 2:43 PM
This obituary of Lea Wait was provided by the family. There will be a celebration of her life with an open house at her home in Maine tomorrow, August 14, from 1-3 pm. The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers that a donation be made in her honor to the Lincoln Country Historical Association.

Author Eleanor Sally Wait, a resident of Edgecomb, Maine known as Lea to her friends and fans, died at 1:00 pm EDT on August 9, 2019 in her home on Eddy Road, Edgecomb, Maine of pancreatic cancer. She was seventy-three.

Lea was predeceased last year by her husband, artist Bob Thomas. Her parents, George and Sally Wait, also predeceased her.

Lea was born in Boston, grew up in Edgecomb, Maine and Glen Ridge, New Jersey, graduated from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, and received M.A. and DWD degrees from New York University. For thirty years she worked as a public relations or strategic planning manager for AT&T, while she was raising her four daughters, who she adopted as a single parent.

They survive her: Caroline Childs, husband Kevin, and daughters Vanessa and Samantha of Palmyra, Virginia, Alicia Hall, husband John, and children Victoria Wait, and Taylor and Drew Gutschenritter of Overland Park, Kansas, Rebecca Wynne and husband Timothy and their children, Aaron, Henry, and Madelyn of Frederick, Maryland, and Elizabeth McNeal and husband Herman Joseph McNeal of Philadelphia. She is also survived by her sisters, Nancy Cantwell and husband Thomas of Cary, North Carolina, and Doris Wait and husband Robert O’Malley of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


Lea was one of the first single people in the United States to adopt internationally after laws changed in 1975, and for twenty-five years was active as an advocate for adoption, especially adoption of older children and adoption by single parents. She founded Adoptive Single Parents of New Jersey, the largest organization of single adoptive parents at the time, and worked informally with agencies to help hundreds of children find homes with single adults and couples.

For forty years she was also a fourth-generation antique dealer, specializing in antique prints.

In 1998 Lea moved full-time to Maine and began writing fiction. She wrote three mystery series – the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, the Mainely Needlepoint series, and the Maine Murder series (under the name Cornelia Kidd.) She also wrote a stand-alone historical mystery for adults, one mystery for young people and seven historical novels for young people. Her book LIVING AND WRITING ON THE COAST OF MAINE told the story of her life with her beloved husband, and what it was really like to be an author.

Her books were finalists for an Agatha Award several times, and she was awarded a lifetime achievement in literature award from Chatham University. Her website, www.leawait.com, has details about her life and books.

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