A woman born and raised in Houlton who went on to write books about the care of zoo animals has left close to $5 million for Aroostook and Washington County scholarships. 

Sally Stetson Tongren passed away in Topsham at the age of 88 in October of 2014 .
She was born in Houlton, Maine May 31, 1926, the daughter of Albert K. and Hazel Hewes Stetson. Albert Stetson was owner and publisher of the Aroostook Pioneer, the first weekly newspaper in The County. Both Stetsons were original investors in the founding of WHOU Radio in Houlton in 1949.


Sally Tongren attended Houlton Schools and graduated from Oak Grove Academy in Vassalboro. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Wellesley College and on December 29, 1947 she married Hale Nuckols Tongren in Houlton. Her husband, who passed away at age 87 in 2009, was a naval officer and later a trustee of George Mason University, where he taught marketing and economics. He also authored several books.

According to her obituary, Tongren "travelled around the world with her Navy husband living in Hawaii, and visiting Japan. Her son Eric was born in 1955 when the Tongrens returned to the states, settling in Virginia for many years. While in Virginia, she worked for the Navy Relief Society and later volunteered as a Docent for the National Zoo and in the late 80’s to early 90’s, wrote several books about animals, including subjects such as feeding animals at the zoo and how animals reproduce. The Tongrens moved to Maine around 2005, where Sally enjoyed reading and genealogy."

Maine Community Foundation President and CEO Steve Rowe says the two endowments totaling $4.8 million established in her name will provide a financial boost to Aroostook and Washington county students as they head off to college. The inaugural awards are expected to be made to high school graduates in 2017.

MCF-Steve Rowe

The Maine Community Foundation partners with donors and educators to provide Maine students access to educational opportunities. Maine Community Foundation manages more than 500 scholarship funds. Aroostook area scholarships can be found here.