Marina F. (Sampas) Schell, age 76, a longtime resident of Lowell, passed away at Lowell General Hospital on Friday, August 12, 2022 surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved widow of the late Peter Schell. They were married 48 years.
Marina was the very lucky daughter and only child of the prominent Lowell journalists/writers and super-parents, the late Charles and Mary Sampas.
Born in Lowell in 1946, Marina graduated from Lowell High School and the University of Mass., Amherst where she majored in psychology and minored in art/art history. She received her master’s degree from UMass Lowell and was honored by the school as an outstanding graduate student in psychology.
Marina and her husband shared strong beliefs and commitments to equal opportunity, social justice, and civil rights. They joined and supported organizations that promoted these values.
Impressed by the War on Poverty and wanting to be a part of it, Marina joined the staff of Community Teamwork, Inc. in the late 60’s. As Assistant Director of the Neighborhood Youth Corps and for well over a decade, she counseled and placed hundreds of economically disadvantaged youth in work-experience programs and initiated city-wide public art projects for teens.
Following her work at CTI, Marina was employed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Social Services/Department of Children and Families for 27 years until her retirement in 2011. She served as a Social Worker, Program Development Specialist, and Area Administrative Manager of the Lowell Office.
Marina participated on numerous human services committees, on the Boards of Directors of the Greater Lowell YWCA and the Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell, and on the City Manager’s Task Force on Domestic Violence.
A support of the local arts and cultural communities, Marina served on the Boards of Directors of the Whistler House Museum of Art, The Brush Art Gallery, Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Lowell Cultural Council. She was a founding board member of the Hellenic Culture and Heritage Society and the Flicks Film Society.
Marina Enjoyed traveling, particularly to Greece and specifically to the beautiful town of Kalambaka, birthplace of her grandmother. Another favorite was a charter sail with her Capt. Peter, family and friends through the dazzling Cycladic Islands of the Aegean Sea.
She also loved drawing and painting, the theatre, reading, keeping current, the beach, writing silly poems, engaging in heated political arguments, ballet, her caring relatives, spending every summer for more than 40 years with Peter on their boat, her friends at Rings Island Marina, her breakfast club mates, belly dancing sisters, fellow book club members, her Fabulous Five pals, and dogs.
Deeply believing in expressing gratitude, Marina tried every day to give thanks for what she called her “charmed life”. Paraphrasing the words of Carl Sagan, Marina knew that “for small creatures such as we, the vastness is not only bearable but also inspiring only through love”.
There would be far too many to name each person Marina loved and leaves behind. They include wonderful in-laws and their families, Sampas and Boutselis cousins, a sweet and loving godson, Jack Stenhouse, and his brother Charlie, Sarah Boutselis and a wide circle of amazing and supportive friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Charles and Mary Sampas/Peter and Marina Schell Scholarship which supports economically disadvantaged LHS seniors who will attend UMass Lowell or UMass Amherst, Greater Lowell Community Foundation, or of course, to the charity of your choice.
Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, August 16th from 5pm to 8pm at the Dracut Funeral Home, 2159 Lakeview Ave., Dracut. Funeral service and interment will be held privately.