She was an old ski school compadre of mine and will be missed.
Peers, friends mourn Holman
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By BETTY ADAMS, Blethen Maine News ServiceMonday, April 9, 2007
Abigail Holman was one of an estimated 100 skiers taking turns racing down the short slalom course Saturday as part of the McKay Waddle Memorial Race.Ý
Holman hit a tree and died during the event, which raised money for scholarships for the junior racing programs at Sugarloaf.Ý
There were no age or ability requirements to enter, just a desire to help others.
"It more of a fun race, open to all ages, an annual spring tradition," said Bill Swain, communications director for Sugarloaf USA.Ý
Spectators watched the skiers come down Lower Competition Hill, cross the finish line and stop in a fenced-in area.
Holman, 45, came down the hill -- wearing a helmet -- and was exiting the finish corral when she skied into a tree and fell. She was taken to the First Aid clinic by ski patrol members and was pronounced dead.
Her sudden death left her community, her family and fellow politicians in shock Sunday.Ý
Holman, a freshman legislator representing District 83, which includes the towns of Belgrade, Fayette, Manchester, Mount Vernon and Vienna, was an athletic woman and an experienced skier.
"She was a season-pass holder and she did ski here frequently," Swain said on Sunday. He said conditions on the mountain were good for skiing Saturday.
"We got 24 inches of snow on Wednesday night and a few inches earlier in the week as well," Swain said, adding that he was unaware of any other serious accidents Saturday.
No autopsy was scheduled, according to a woman who answered the phone Sunday at the state Medical Examiner's Office. She said a cause of death might be available today.
Holman was vice chairwoman of the Fayette Board of Selectmen. The chairman, Berndt Graf, said the board, at its meeting at 7 tonight, may plan some sort of town memorial for Holman.Ý
"We're trying to process the whole thing right now," he said on Sunday. "We will plan something. We're still in shock."
Graf said his family and Holman's were close.
"She was a really good friend," Graf added. "If you knew her, she challenged you to better yourself. She loved people. She wasn't a bystander. Usually she made things better.
"There have been some tough things in Fayette over the past three years, and this is another tough one."
U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and former Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. sent out a written statement late Saturday about Holman's death.
"Like so many throughout Maine, we were shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of Abby's tragic death. She has been a tremendous friend to our state with her tireless dedication and willingness to serve, and to both of us personally. Abby was always committed to doing what was right and to the betterment of her beloved Maine -- and her loss is shared by all those whose lives she touched. Our hearts and prayers go out to her daughter, Molly, her fiance, Jeff Timm, and her entire family at this most difficult of times."
Speaker of the House Glenn Cummings, D-Portland, said the Legislature will offer a special sentiment for Holman and place a rose on her desk for a week, a tradition when someone dies while in office.
Cummings also said the Legislature would arrange its calendar to allow legislators to attend memorial services for Holman if they are open to the public.
"Abby was a woman of phenomenal principle, strength and talent," he said Sunday. "She did her homework. She truly loved being in the Legislature."
Sen. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, on which Holman served as ranking minority member, said she was a smart, aggressive, competitive lobbyist and legislator.
"A lot of Democrats from way back would say, 'I wish we had someone like that on our side,'" Hobbins said Sunday.
Holman was a widow. Her husband, Andrew Weegar, 41, died two years ago in a tractor accident at the family's Fayette farm. She had plans to marry Timm, a dentist from Manchester, in June.
A funeral director at Knowlton Hewins Roberts Funeral Homes said Sunday that a service for Holman is set tentatively for Thursday morning at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Augusta.