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Centenarian, Maine’s First Woman Radio Amateur Mary Cousins, ex-W1GSC, SK


Retired librarian Mary S. Wallace Cousins, ex-W1GSC, of Deer Isle, Maine, the first woman in Maine to obtain an Amateur Radio license, died on January 28. She was 108. Cousins, whose “Amateur First” license was issued in 1933 by the old Federal Radio Commission when she was 24, had celebrated her 108th birthday to some fanfare last September at the nursing home where she’d been living.

She recalled operating Morse code, although she no longer remembered the code, and said she used to relay weather information in that mode. A native of nearby Stonington, Maine, Cousins had worked as the town’s librarian for 30 years, retiring at the age of 90. She also had worked for the telephone company for more than a decade, and she transported kindergarten pupils to and from school in her station wagon.

Cousins told Bangor TV station WFVX at her birthday celebration last fall that ham radio in the 1930s “was something that the girls did not do, and the boys were all doing it at the time, and I said, ‘I can do it too.’ And I did.”

Cousins attended Gorham Normal School, from which she received her teaching certificate.