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Nancy Margaret (Hanks) Laitala

August 9, 1938 - May 6, 2021
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BRUNSWICK -- Nancy Hanks Laitala, 82, joined her beloved husband of 54 years, Lt. Commander Theodore "Ted” Laitala, in heaven on Thursday, May 6, 2021. 

She died of natural causes with family present in her home in Brunswick, the same town where she was born on August 9, 1938, the daughter of Bradbury Hanks of Augusta and Jennie Pilley of Belfast.

Nancy was a proud Mainer, full of local anecdotes for every occasion. She attended Brunswick public schools and kept a lifelong bond with the Brunswick High School "Girls of ’56.” She spent two years at Gorham State Teachers College before completing an Art Education degree at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

She met Ted Laitala of Van Etten, New York while he was assigned to the Brunswick Naval Air Station. They married on August 10, 1963 at the St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brunswick, where they were active parishioners until their deaths. She accompanied her aviator husband at his Naval posts up and down the Eastern Seabord until 1971, when they settled in their beloved Federal period house in Brunswick. It was here that Nancy would make a home for fifty years, raising four children with Ted by her side, when he wasn’t on long deployments abroad.

She taught art to public schoolchildren in Brunswick, Florida, Wiscasset, Woolwich, and Phippsburg. A passionate proponent of pottery, she installed three kilns in her basement, where she fired the projects of hundreds of students, as well as her own creations. She was also a wonderful painter and knitter, and had a real gift for igniting the spark of imagination in young people, not just in her professional capacity. Her most satisfying legacy may have been to inspire all four of her children to pursue successful careers in art, art education and antiques.

Her other pursuits included gardening, playing piano and singing at home and in church, enjoying pets as well as wild animal visitors to her garden, and baking blueberry pies and rum cakes. She was full of civic pride for Brunswick and was an active member of the Pejepscot Historical Society. She was most especially proud of the achievements of the new generations of her extended family.  

Nancy is survived by a son, Ian Laitala and his partner Julie Mandell of Old Orchard Beach; daughter Jennie Driscoll and her husband Edward of Brunswick; daughter Kerry Laitala and her husband Brian Darr of San Francisco, California; daughter Shannon Laitala and her husband Donald Harney of Groveland, Massachusetts; grandchildren Mirabella and Liam Driscoll and Sadie and Genevieve Harney, sister Mary Hanks White and her husband Dr. Houghton White, sister Elizabeth Hanks Leonard, brother Stephen Hanks, sisters-in-law Judy Fedocks of Van Etten, New York and Susan Harmer and her husband Alan of Elmira, New York, as well as many adoring cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, neighbors and friends.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by an infant brother, John Michael Hanks.

Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, May 12th from 4-6 PM at Stetson’s Funeral Home 12 Federal St. Brunswick. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, May 13, at 11:00 AM, at St. Charles Borromeo Church-All Saints Parish, 132 McKeen St, Brunswick. She will be interred next to her husband in the Maine Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery 163 Mt. Vernon Road Augusta.

Per CDC guidelines mask are required and social distancing will be observed. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Art Van Program, 10 State Road, PMB 272, Bath, ME 04530. Memorial condolences may be expressed at