Cover photo for Alice Caldwell's Obituary
Alice Caldwell Profile Photo
1922 Alice 2023

Alice Caldwell

October 17, 1922 — September 21, 2023

Alice Marion Wielich Caldwell passed away on Thursday, September 21, 2023, in Yarmouth, Maine surrounded by her loving family. She lived a remarkably full life for nearly 101 years and will be forever remembered by her family and friends for her exceptional kindness and boundless energy.

Alice was born on October 17, 1922, to Marion Morrison and Ludwig Wielich. She grew up in Mountain Lakes, N.J. during the Great Depression. Responding to the demands of World War II, Alice enrolled at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. She graduated with a Nursing degree, becoming a licensed registered nurse in 1944. While attending nursing school, Alice met Bill Caldwell on a blind date — a date that led to their wartime wedding and a remarkable 78-year marriage.

After Bill’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II, he and Alice were among the earliest homeowners in Levittown, N.Y. After the birth of their last daughter, they moved to Larchmont, N.Y. and, shortly thereafter, to the house they designed and had built in Laurel Hollow, N.Y. Upon Bill’s retirement, they headed south to Hartfield for a glorious 38 years. At age 94, Alice and Bill relocated to Maine to be near their daughter Kim.

Although Alice worked as a visiting nurse, she was above all a homemaker — in the fullest sense of the word. Her principal commitment was to her husband, children, and grandchildren to whom she brought endless love, kindness, and an unfathomable level of energy. Whether it was supporting Bill’s many hobbies, helping with school projects, or leading Girl Scout cookie drives, Alice tirelessly guided and cheered on her family. Alice’s welcoming personality meant the house was often a magnet for her daughters’ friends and boyfriends, even those few for whom she lacked enthusiasm.

After her daughters married and had families of their own, Alice treasured the grandchildren’s visits, spoiling them with sweets and multiple trips to Busch Gardens. She was known to impart her wisdom, mostly unsolicited, with her favorite sayings: hard work pays off; waste not, want not; and busy hands are happy hands.

Alice was an exceptional caretaker, extending to all the same compassion that led her to nursing school. Sick children received an undue amount of attention, orphaned baby birds were raised in shoeboxes, thirsty turtles discovered bowls of water set out in the garden, stray cats found daily food, and before rabies was an issue, raccoons feasted on stale bread tossed out to them. She loved wild animals, particularly the songbirds she tirelessly tried to lure to her feeders in Maine.

Alice pursued many interests while homemaking and caretaking. During their honeymoon in Williamsburg, she and Bill discovered what was to become their life-long passion: Colonial American architecture, gardens, and furnishings. The hours they spent designing, building, and landscaping their colonial homes in New York and Virginia brought them immense joy and satisfaction.

Music was a mainstay of Alice’s life. Her mother was a professional harpist, and her father was part of Manhattan’s classical musical scene, representing noted European artists. During high school, Alice was known for her musical talents, singing in school productions, and performing on both piano and violin. She had a beautiful alto voice and sang in numerous church choirs, even soloing in Messiah performances. Late in life, Alice joined the chorus at her retirement community and took up the Celtic harp.

Alice loved to party. Whether it be with family, friends, or new acquaintances, Alice delighted in any and all social occasions. She had a widespread reputation for being a gracious and generous hostess, with the Caldwell’s annual Chesapeake gathering of Ocean Cruising Club sailors becoming a “can’t miss” event. Sailors from around the world planned their itineraries so they could attend the fall party, dropping anchor in the Piankatank to join in the festivities. Invariably, the Broadway show tunes would start on the piano with Alice’s singing leading the way.

Unknown to many was Alice’s self-discipline. She kept a diary her entire life, recording her daily activities, accomplishments, and gardening observations. Recently, Alice was thrilled to revisit her huge scrapbook of letters, corsages, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia she had made from the years she and Bill dated. Not only did her scrapbooks and photo albums reflect her self-discipline, but she also displayed remarkable commitment to even the most mundane, boring activities. No job was too tedious or painstaking for Alice. The end result was that Alice’s homes ran like well-oiled machines.

Alice possessed a deep passion for gardening, and to say she had a green thumb is an understatement. She not only enjoyed tending to her beautiful perennial and formal colonial boxwood gardens, but she also tagged and nurtured the native flowering plants found in the wooded acres surrounding their homes. Even in her Bay Square assisted-living apartment, Alice was able to coax her many orchids to thrive and rebloom. She also provided weekly fresh flowers for each table in the community dining room. Sharing these arrangements brought her great joy and were much appreciated by the residents and staff. Alice formed deep bonds with the assisted living staff, and her family is forever grateful for their loving care and support.

Alice is survived by her daughters, Anne Caldwell (Peter Elzer), Jeanne Caldwell, and Kim Caldwell (John Lambert); grandchildren, Lee Marchalonis, Elizabeth Elzer, David Elzer (Pamela Cabrera), Emily Lambert, Deirdre Lambert, Julia Lambert, and William Raudenbush. She was predeceased by her husband Bill and her granddaughter Alice Raudenbush, her namesake. On her husband Bill’s 100th birthday, Alice welcomed her first great-grandchild, Casper Elzer.

A memorial service celebrating Alice’s life is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at Lower United Methodist Church in Hartfield.

In lieu of flowers, Alice requested that donations be made to the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, 6620 Jackson Lane, Gloucester, VA 23061 or to the Lower United Methodist Church, 20 Lower Church Road, Hartfield, VA 23071.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alice Caldwell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, November 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Lower United Methodist Church

120 Lower Church Road, Hartfield, VA 23071

This service will be a memorial service.

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