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May 1, 2024

Madeleine Corson, family business owner, publisher and philanthropist, dies at 87

Courtesy / Brian Peterson In 2019, Maddy Corson received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to family-owned business across Maine.

Madeleine “Maddy” G. Corson — granddaughter of media executive Guy Gannett, later the leader of the company he founded, and a longtime philanthropist and civic supporter — died Monday at age 87.

Most recently a resident of Yarmouth, Corson was born April 2, 1937, to Creighton E. Gatchell and Alice Madeleine Gannett Gatchell.

After raising a family with her husband, Corson in 1994 succeeded her aunt, Jean Gannett Hawley, as chair of Guy Gannet Communications. At the time, the company was the publisher of three daily newspapers that traced their roots to Corson's grandfather: the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Waterville Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal.

Gannett acquired multiple papers during the 1920s, combined two of them into the Press Herald, and built a company that at one time also owned a string of television stations. The company continued under family ownership until 1998, when it sold to the Seattle Times Co.

The papers are now owned and operated by the nonprofit Maine Trust for Local News.

Outside of the publishing industry, Corson took an active role in community organizations, including the Maine Aquarium, the Abyssinian Church and the Victoria Mansion. She was especially dedicated to the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine, which on Wednesday posted a tribute to her.

"A passionate champion for children’s participation in the arts, especially the performing arts, she worked tirelessly over decades to ensure the continuation of the Children’s Theatre of Maine, culminating in the successful merger of that organization with the Children’s Museum of Maine in 2008," wrote Julie Butcher Pezzino, executive director and a 2022 Mainebiz Woman to Watch.

Corson almost never missed a dramatic production at the theater, Pezzino said.

"We will miss her fiercely, but she has left such an indelible imprint that she will be with us forever."

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May 4, 2024

Maddy was an angel on earth.

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