Maureen Wikane, the director of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, died at East End Hospice’s Kanas Center in Quiogue on June 18. Wikane, who was 71, had suffered from pancreatic cancer for nine months, her family said.
Wikane had served as the director of the Whitmore center, which was originally the East Hampton Day Care Center, for 23 years. During that time, enrollment grew to about 100 students, as the center teamed up with the East Hampton School District to provide a prekindergarten program and later an after-school program for children in East Hampton and Springs.
“My mother’s greatest joy was the work she did and the relationships she established as director of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center,” her son, Christian Wikane, said. “For 23 years, mom thrived in her role, supporting young children with all of the resources they need at such a critical stage in their development.”
She was born on December 13, 1947 in Southampton to Roger Maran and the former Marjorie Southwood. She was raised in Bridgehampton and attended the Bridgehampton School, where her mother was a teacher.
After graduating as salutatorian in 1965, she attended Mary Washington College at the University of Virginia, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1969. She later received a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University as well as teaching certificates in both elementary and secondary education.
Two years after graduating from college, she married John H. Wikane Jr. in 1971. The couple had two children, her son, who lives in New York City, and Amy Wikane Stengel of Wilmington, DE.
The family lived in Garden City and later Queens, before moving to East Hampton in 1979.
During the 1970s, Wikane served as an admissions officer at Hofstra University and later as an administrator with the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services. For a decade, starting in 1984, she taught kindergarten at the Most Holy Trinity Catholic School in East Hampton and third and fourth grade at the Stella Maris Catholic School in Sag Harbor.
Wikane was a member of the East Hampton Ladies’ Village Improvement Society, a member of the American Association of University Women, and a parishioner at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton.
Besides her children, Wikane is survived by two grandchildren and her sister, Gail Brockett of Bridgehampton. She was predeceased by her husband, who died in 2000.
Wikane was buried in Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton after a private family service.
A memorial celebration of her life will take place on August 4 at the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center in East Hampton.
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Maureen Wikane Memorial Scholarship Fund or the Readers’ Circle Garden Fund, in care of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, PO Box 63, East Hampton, NY 11937.
Maureen Wikane died on June 18 at East End Hospice’s Kanas Center in Quiogue. Wikane, who was 71, had suffered from pancreatic cancer for nine months.
A memorial service will be held at the Whitmore Center on Gingerbread Lane Extension in East Hampton on August 4.
A complete obituary will appear in next week’s issue.