Hope B. Lichtman (née Cummings) was born on May 7th, 1929 in Bangor Maine, daughter of Percy L. “Buck” Cummings and Winifred Leighton Cummings. Her mother passed away not long after the birth of her sister Ellen, when Hope was about two years old. Hope was raised by her grandparents in the Bangor area with frequent visits from her loving father who she adored. Hope seemed to have lived on every street and went to every grade school in Bangor, as her family moved a lot (likely to stay one step ahead of the landlord, like so many depression era families). Hope would say they didn’t have much money, but made up for it with love and laughter. Her father found new love and married Vivian Perkins Cummings, giving Hope a loving step-mother and soon two siblings, Charles D. Cummings and Marlene Cummings Stokes, who she loved with all her heart.
After graduating from Bangor High School in 1947, Hope attended Providence Bible College, where she met friends that would change the course of her young life. After the death of her grandmother in 1948, Hope was invited to spend the summer with her friend Marge and her family in NYC. During that summer, Hope met a wedding singer named Barney Carson, who turned out to be Bernie Lichtman, and the love of her life. They married in 1950, and had a life of love and adventure until his untimely death in 1988. Their lives were focused on their love of God and their daughter Susan Lichtman Maataoui, and on service to others. They sang in choirs at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, and later at Bellerose Baptist Church in Queens. They served on missions committees, led youth groups, and were always there to lend a hand to those in need.
Hope was ahead of her time, choosing to work in business when it wasn’t always a popular choice for women and was a role model to Susan, showing her the difficulties and rewards of being a successful woman in a man’s world. Her work spanned the entertainment industry, Christian publishing, and medical missions. Her final position, which Susan loved, was working as the in-house accountant to a company that ran the country’s largest flea markets. On weekends, they would stroll the isles together at Belmont Race Track, finding bargains and eating Italian pastries.
When Bernie retired, the couple relocated from Long Island to Florida, and lived in the Tampa area until cancer took Bernie home. At that time, Susan was finishing her graduate work in psychology in California, and they decided it made sense for Hope to spend her winters in sunny Pasadena and summers at her “camp” in Stetson Maine where she was surrounded by extended family. Many happy days were spent with her new church family in Pasadena, getting to know and love Susan’s friends, and having wonderful lazy summer days by the lake. Retirement allowed Hope to explore her creative side, starting with inundating her family with hand-painted ceramics, then crocheting beautiful afghans, and learning tole painting.
When Susan’s work life took her back East, finding a practice in Bangor, Hope returned to her birthplace, reconnecting with old friends and family in Maine and Canada, and re-established herself as a full-time “Mainah”. She joined the local Christian Woman’s Club, and eventually became a speaker for their organization, traveling all over New England telling her story of hope, healing, and learning to move forward after a great loss. Always the entrepreneur, Hope learned how to basket weave, and established Harbor Light Crafts, selling hand-made baskets in Portland, Bangor, and Bar Harbor.
When Susan met and married her husband Tayeb Maataoui, Hope opened her heart and now had a son. The family lived together in Bangor and then in Portland, where Hope once again found ways to serve God and expand her interests until illness started to slow her down. She was able to live at home until very recently, when she briefly resided at Seaside Rehabilitation Center. Hope regularly told Susan that everyone was so kind to her, but she wasn’t sure why she was living in a hotel.
Hope passed peacefully into the arms of God and her beloved Bernie on September 17th, 2021, surrounded by her brother Chuck, her sister-in-law Nancy Cummings, her nephew Peter Cummings, and her “kids”, Susan and Tayeb. Her loving family also includes Cristyn Cummings Hartley, Aaron Hartley, Madeline Hartley, and Caleb Hartley; Kristofer Cummings and Lily Cummings; Ronald and Charlene Leighton, Jenn Leighton, and Brian Leighton; Eleanor Leighton Britt, Lisa Britt, and Scott Brit, many cousins in the US and Canada; her extended Moroccan family, her “adopted” daughters Sally Howard, Debbie White, Ellen Patterson, and Sue Jones; and she loved being “Nana Hope” to Victoria Shepeluk. She is pre-deceased by her father, Percy Cummings, her step-mother, Vivian Cummings, her sisters Ellen Cummings DeMichele and Marlene Cummings Stokes, her husband Bernard Lichtman, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The family would like to thank the amazing staff at Maine Medical Center, who provided such wonderful care in Hope’s final days. Following Hope’s wishes, there will be a small private celebration of life at a later date, and she will be laid to rest with her beloved Bernie. In lieu of flowers, please honor Hope and Bernie with a gift to the Maine Cancer Foundation.
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