On November 26, 2005, while walking her two Pekinese dogs, 14-year old Marlee Danielle Johnston of Fayette, Maine was senselessly murdered by a neighborhood boy who confessed to killing her because she was happy and her life was so filled with promise. By all accounts from those that knew Marlee, she was a positive, happy and care-free person that loved life. Her enthusiasm was infectious and despite her young age, was a role model of how to live life with integrity. While nothing will bring Marlee back, her loving parents and older brother Alec founded the Marlee Fund to celebrate her life and spirit by providing support for programs and activities that were important to Marlee and that can help enrich the lives of children of western Kennebec County and surrounding communities.
The Marlee Fund Supports:
- Scholarships for local day students to Kents Hill School, a private, college preparatory high school, where Marlee had planned to enroll, to follow in her older brother’s footsteps. Recipients are designated by Kents Hill School as Marlee Scholars;
- Purchase of paperback books for the Marlee Reading Room (named in her memory) at the Winthrop Middle School library where Marlee attended and was well known for her insatiable appetite for reading and learning;
- An annual Alpine Ski Race for middle & high school age skiers and the Marlee Ski Club (also named in her memory) at Kents Hill. The Marlee Ski Club provides opportunities for middle school-aged skiers to perfect their skills with professional coaches. The Marlee Ski Club, working with Kents Hill School, provides “hill time” for practice for the Maranacook & Winthrop school alpine ski teams. Marlee was an active member of the Ski Club, where she learned to love racing; which also exemplifies her zest for life;
- Scholarships for young girls for summer camp at Camp Mechuwana and YMCA Camp, where Marlee attended and made many special friends;
- The Marlee Music Festival featuring local musicians from Kents Hill, Maranacook and Winthrop Schools. Marlee played piano, guitar and sang, and her enthusiasm for music was an inspiration to her friends, classmates and adults alike; Proceeds from the Festival will be donated to the three school music programs; and,
- Other programs and activities that contribute to the goals and purpose of the Marlee Fund.