SOUTH PORTLAND - Anna Houde Vander Schaaf, 71, passed away on October 24, 2014, at the Springbrook Center in Westbrook, Maine after a long and debilitating battle with Alzheimers disease. She was born in Sanford, Maine, on October 27, 1942, and lived most of her life near Portland, Maine. She was a 1960 graduate of Sanford High School, and received an Associate Degree in Finance from Burdett College in Boston in 1965. She also studied and graduated from Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, Maine. After several years of raising three children and taking care of a foster daughter, Anna worked at various positions including bank teller (where her lines were always the longest since she drew people to her with her friendly and welcoming manner), and as a bookkeeper at Grandpas Workshop, a local unfinished wood furniture factory in Sanford. Anna loved to dance and she went to singles dances with her best friend Maria Oncale on Friday and Saturday nights, especially after her divorce and recovering from breast cancer. It was there that she met Jim Vander Schaaf and they found soul mates in each other, married and spent the last 17 years together in a very adventurous manner. Anna established a massage therapy practice and received positive feedback on her capabilities and skills from many satisfied clients. She later joined her husband Jim as he ran his consulting businesses and traveled and worked in Macon, Georgia and Huntsville, Alabama for several years. Anna also traveled with Jim as he conducted his business overseas in Germany, Italy and China. In 1999, Anna and Jim acquired a sailboat and spent 5 wonderful years cruising the Atlantic from Maine to the Florida Keys, the Bahamas (including the Abacos, the Exumas, Eleuthera and Bimini), and many islands in the Caribbean. They had great adventures, met many fascinating people and made friends wherever they went. After coming back to Maine in 2005, Anna helped to take care of her mother who was also afflicted with Alzheimers. She departed Maine in 2007 with Jim to discover sailing adventures on the Pacific coast from Costa Rica to San Francisco. They later spent 4 years traveling in Mexico, mostly in San Miguel de Allende. Anna found the Mexican people to be wonderful and she developed several good friends and became attached to the Mendoza clan, a delightful Mexican family, living where we were in Alcocer. Anna was a fighter, and fought the good fight for the last seven years of her life, as her Alzheimers disease continued to strip away her humanity. She never complained or played the blame game for the disease she fought against. Anna had many jobs throughout her life, but the job she took the most pride in was that of a mother. She was a champion for her children. She is survived and will be missed by her four children Steve (wife Amy), Stacey (husband Dave) and Shannon (husband Allen) and Carol. Her grandchildren are Cameron, Owen, Amy, Rae-Lynn, Kaley, Alden, Elliot, Alana, Makaila and Mya, and a great grandchild Cambria. Anna also is survived by her sister Cecilia. Anna will also be missed by her former husband Perley and his partner Denise. She also leaves behind her friends of many years, especially Maria (who will miss her greatly) and Patrick Oncale. Anna will always be remembered fondly by her husband Jim Vander Schaaf. They had a number of delightful years together, before she became ill. Anna is also remembered and will be in the hearts of Jims three daughters: Dietlind and her partner Kelly; Deirdre and her son Alexander; and Marielle, and his former wife Marilynn. The memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 1, 2014, at Conroy-Tully Crawford South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. A reception follows, at the same location, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Its with heartfelt thanks that we acknowledge the fine care Anna received, especially from the staff at the Springbrook Center, 300 Spring Street, Westbrook, Maine 04092, and also from the staff at Life Choice (formerly SolAmor) hospices. Anna resided at Springbrook since March 22, 2013. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimers Association Maine 383 U.S. Route 1, Suite 2C, Scarborough, ME 04074 You can find information regarding donations at: http://www.alz.org/maine/in_my_community_donate.asp Or, you may send a donation (via check) to the hospice that was wonderfully helpful to Anna near her end: Life Choice (formerly SolAmor Hospice), 23 Spring Street, Suite C Scarborough, ME 04074 (207) 761-6967 More information can be found at: http://www.lifechoicehospice.com/ Online condolences may be expressed below.