Heaven is alive with love, laughter and the famous “Patting Potter” hugs for another fabulous Potter reunion. Mildred Elizabeth Potter Holsberg Painter passed away peacefully on July 10, 2023, at Bayleigh Chase in Easton, surrounded by family that she cherished.
Millie, as she was affectionately known to family and friends, was born February 2, 1932, in Cambridge MD, the fourth of six children of Elizabeth (McCahan) and Wendell Potter. Millie was the only girl in a home full of five active brothers and she went toe to toe with them in everything from academics and sports to fishing and crabbing at the family home built by her father on the banks of the Choptank River. From an early age, Millie was smart, with a healthy laugh that could fill a room. She was quick to share puns, riddles, “Shaggy Dog” stories, and even a slightly risqué joke that sometimes reddened the faces of some of the younger nieces and nephews… but they remember to this day that Aunt Millie was one of the “fun aunts” who made them feel they were older than their age and that she appreciated their company and maturity.
In her 1949 Cambridge High School yearbook, Millie is remembered as “fun-loving, athletic and an outstanding member of all varsity sports, who especially enjoyed playing basketball.” After graduation she attended Maryland State Teachers College in Salisbury, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. While at Salisbury, Millie caught the eye of a handsome fellow student and Navy veteran, Les Holsberg. The older and smitten Les persisted for weeks with his requests for a date, and on a warm evening on the front steps of Salisbury’s Holloway Hall, he was ultimately rewarded with a kiss on the cheek that would lead to their engagement, marriage on August 23, 1952, more that 37 years of marriage, and daughters Penny and Peg.
A teacher at Academy, St. Clair and Maple elementary schools in Cambridge, Millie’s no nonsense classroom style was evenly paired with her creativity and the imaginative ways she used her incredible artistic abilities to find innovative ways to reach her students. Many have reminisced that she inspired them and described her as their “favorite.” Millie retired in 1986 after 30 years in the classroom.
Millie loved reading, opera and classical music and was equally at ease swan diving from the Choptank River Bridge. Swimming was a passion; she had a beautiful stroke that she shared with her kids and grandkids during swimming lessons in her backyard pool. She was a fabulous artist and even adorned the walls of the basement with larger-than-life drawings of Dr. Suess characters, transforming it into a magical `family/playroom, replete with a juke box, bar. Though the home has changed hands a few times since then, those drawings still adorn the walls of the room that is remembered as the setting of family game nights, TV watching and gatherings around the Christmas tree.
Millie was also known for her knitting, crocheting, embroidering, and sewing complete outfits - including wedding gowns, doll clothes and Halloween costumes. She was an avid puzzler and wordsmith playing hours of word games, Scrabble and watching Jeopardy every night.
Not one to sit still for too long, Millie enjoyed traveling in various parts of the world including Europe and South America, including boat tours of the Amazon and Galapagos, and a photographic safari of Africa.
Mille was predeceased by her parents, husbands Les Holsberg and Buford Painter, brothers Bob, Bud, Walt and Jim Potter and grandson John James Adams. She is survived by brother Jack Potter (Pat), daughters Penny Holsberg Hope (Bruce), Peg Holsberg Hughes (Rick) Ann Marie Holsberg McKay and Mariann Holsberg Haddaway, grandchildren Jason Bell (Ashley), Meghan DeCarlo (Nick), Joe Hope (Amanda), Jennifer Hope King, Ricky Adams (Heidi), Judi Hubble (Rodney), Keith Windsor (Doris), Angie Lord (Kenny), 13 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews: each one her favorite.
Always generous with her time, care, and resources, she loomed large in so many people’s lives. She will be missed.
A memorial celebration will be held on Saturday, September 16th at 11 a.m. at Open Bible Church and Academy, 1619 Race Street, Cambridge, MD 21613. Family and friends may visit between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you contribute to your favorite cause in remembrance of Millie.