In Memory of





Obituary for Vera M. Piper (McCollough)

Vera Jane (McCollough) Piper of Kennebunk, Maine died peacefully at age 83 on December 8, 2023. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was by her side throughout her final days.
Vera was born in Cumberland MD on May 7, 1940 to Ernest and Zelia McCullough. Vera was a remarkable person who lived her life fully. She loved her family and friends deeply and had an insatiable curiosity for the natural world.
Vera received her BS from University of Alabama in Birmingham and her MS in Microbiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For many years she worked as a research microbiologist in a variety of university and government laboratories throughout the Southeast. Following the death of her parents in 1980 she moved to Winchester VA, her favorite place in the world. Nestled within the Shenandoah Valley of the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains, Vera’s personal life bloomed in a place where family was nearby. She forged many friendships and new interests over her 38 years there. For many years she owned two office and art supply stores which she operated with her best friend of 50 years Carole Paulett. Following that she began teaching biology at Shenandoah University to undergraduates in the University’s pharmacy and allied health programs. Vera became a beloved teacher and mentor to her students over those years.
Along the way she was a dedicated Girl Scout leader, hiked many trails in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, camped in the snow, and climbed over 6500 Feet to reach the top of Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains. She collected fossils, plants and fungi, learned to crochet, read lots of books about science, and traveled extensively across country and throughout western Europe with her dear friend Carole.
Vera relocated to Maine in 2019 to be closer to her daughter and family. During her four years in Maine Vera enjoyed many drives into the countryside, visiting the “the farm” in central Maine, and sightseeing trips along the coast with her daughter. During the summer of 2023 she was able to travel into the North Woods region to see Mt. Katahdin, Moosehead Lake, and experience the Golden Road.
Maine’s natural beauty filled her with joy. She also acquired a wicked addiction for Maine’s Whoopie Pies and Needham’s, along with a deep appreciation for Maine’s people and her many new friends and interests.
Vera began to draw and experiment with color pencils and watercolors after taking a few classes locally. She produced well over 100 pieces during this time including many detailed botanical drawings. She taught a few art classes for The Center in Kennebunk and was a featured artist at the Kennebunk Free Library’s Speer Gallery in the spring of 2023 at the age of 82. Her exhibit was aptly titled “It’s Never Too Late!” - a perfect way to describe an extraordinary woman who never allowed her curious and agile mind to idle.
She was a loving daughter to her parents and her sister Lois Boylen, MD (all previously deceased), loving Aunt to her niece Deborah (deceased) and nephew Kevin Boylen, devoted to her many cousins, a lifelong friend to Carole Paulett and Mary Shoemaker (deceased), a steadfast mother to her only child Elizabeth, a loving mother-in-law to Elizabeth’s husband Rick, and beloved grandmother to her two grandsons, Patrick Conrad and Michael Conrad. In addition to the family and friends listed above, Vera had many wonderful people in her life that she met through her adventures. She loved them all.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Vera on Sunday January 7th at 2pm, in Kennebunk Maine for friends and family. A Zoom connection will be provided to friends and family who are unable to travel.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Vera’s name can be made to benefit The Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street, Kennebunk ME 04043 or The Center, 175 Port Road, Kennebunk, ME 04043 or The Brick Store Museum, 117 Main Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043.
To share a memory or leave a message of condolence please visit Vera’s Book of Memories Page at
Arrangements are in the care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043.