Priscilla Krasnow, a beloved volunteer at Portland Arts and Technology High School who lived life with passion and purpose, died Saturday. She was 92.

Mrs. Krasnow, known by PATHS students as “Mama K.,” was remembered Wednesday as a fun, strong and beautiful woman who brought out the best in people.

Her daughter, Jane Krasnow, a retired fashion marketing teacher at PATHS, said her mother volunteered in her classroom for three years. She also traveled to Maine to attend PATHS’ annual fashion show for many years.

Jane Krasnow said her mother had a special connection with students. Many students, even some from other classrooms, would turn to her for advice about family or relationships, she said.

“I always thought the kids might like her, but I never ever expected them to absolutely adore her. It was pretty awesome ’cause these are high school kids. They can dis everything,” her daughter said. “Some kids said the reason they loved to come to school was to see Mama K. They felt so accepted. They could talk about their real self without having to censor anything.”

Mrs. Krasnow was recognized by Portland Schools as Volunteer of the Year in 2013.


Her daughter said she loved seeing the kids make strides in their lives. She loved to see what students would create and how they would learn new skills, she said.

“She loved to see the students progress,” she said. “She liked talking with the kids. She was like a real grandma, but she was so modern. She was very fashionably dressed and so young at heart.”

Mrs. Krasnow lived in Rhode Island prior to moving to Maine in 2012. She was married to Robert M. Krasnow for 33 years. He died in 1978. The couple raised two daughters, Jane Krasnow and Ellen Beauchaine.

The sisters shared stories Wednesday of their mother’s passion for life and love of music, food, theater and fashion.

“She was my greatest supporter … my greatest cheerleader,” Beauchaine said. “She had a feeling that anything was possible. If you can dream it, you can do it. That’s how she lived her life. Whatever she did, she was so passionate about. She would go full tilt, no holds barred.”

Jane Krasnow said her mother was no June Cleaver.


“She was unapologetic,” she said. “She wasn’t interested in that. She was interested in showing us theater and culture. She gave us this wonderful life. The fact that she wasn’t Betty Crocker kind of let me off the hook.”

Mrs. Krasnow lived at the Betsy Ross House in South Portland, where she was known as “The Sparkle Lady” for her sense of fashion. She was sober for 47 years. Jane Krasnow said her mother cried through her first 12-step meeting, but found freedom and joy in sobriety.

Her granddaughter, Krista Krasnow Kelley of Philadelphia, said she was one of her best friends. She described her Wednesday as a beautiful woman who radiated warmth and love.

“She was so comfortable in her own skin,” her granddaughter said. “She was so confident and comfortable and so freely gave love. She was truly the definition of altruism. She felt her best when she was helping people. To me, that was the most inspiring. She lived with such love and passion and care for other people.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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