A day after Emily Fournier of Fairfield died in a drowning accident, she was remembered as a good friend who sought to be generous with others.

Fournier, 33, and her family were white-water rafting Saturday when she and two others were ejected from the raft while paddling through one of the bigger rapids on the upper Kennebec River.

Fournier was able to float through a portion of the river but was unresponsive after being pulled back into the raft.

Emergency lifesaving measures were performed until the raft pulled over at an emergency evacuation point at the Moxie Lake boat launch, where emergency workers placed Fournier into an ambulance.

Ryan Toothaker, 32, of Rockport, a close friend of Fournier, describes her as “one of the most vibrant, loving and open-minded human beings I’ve ever met,” with a deep love of the arts and Shakespeare.

The two met at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, from which Fournier graduated in 2006. Fournier later earned a degree from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.


Toothaker said among her many many interests, Fournier was a journalist who wrote often, a dancer, an advocate for body positivity and an “extremely loud and vigorous advocate” for people being themselves and who they are.

“She was my best friend,” Toothaker said. “I cannot think of anything she didn’t put her mind to that she wouldn’t do. I cannot speak highly enough of her as a friend.

“Emily came from a family of very open-minded and loving people. They instilled that from a young age — the importance in community service and community involvement, a deep understanding of what it means to be human and what humanity is required, and how an excess application of humanity will never be a fault.”

Emily Fournier, 33, of Fairfield drowned Saturday while she and her family were white-water rafting on upper Kennebec River. Contributed photo

Fournier and her family were heavily involved with the Recycled Shakespeare Co. of Fairfield, an acting company that believes in upcycling used materials, sets and costumes. The theater was founded by Fournier, her mother and her older brother.

“They were having a conversation on the beach about how cool it would be to have a community theater with the added idea of ecological friendliness,” Toothaker said. “Due to the convergence of ideas, the Recycled Shakespeare Co. was born.”

Toothaker, president of Recycled Shakespeare Co., said he became involved in the theater after moving back to Maine in late 2017 and attending a production of Macbeth, where he went to support his friend.


He was not involved in the show but went to watch. He then told Fournier how he enjoyed the performance. He came back to the theater for the next show, where he helped with concessions. In the middle of that performance, Fournier pulled him from the stand and put him into a costume to play a villager in the show’s next scene.

“She pulled me into the realm of Shakespeare,” he said.

Toothaker said 80% to 90% of the props and costumes used are made out of recycled materials.

What Toothaker says he and many others will miss the most is her sense of humor.

“I think that even in some of the most serious moments, Emily and I always found a way to make each other laugh and smile. Over a decade of friendship brings out the good situations and the bad, I can never remember an occasion where I didn’t have a chance to laugh because she made me laugh.”

Fournier has left an impact on the community that she lived in and Toothaker says that those that want to help can support Recycled Shakespeare Company.

“I encourage them to truly love and support the arts because independent expression of ideas and emotions and humanity and its forms has so many amazing and essential effects on the community,” he said. “She would want people to support the arts.”

Fournier is survived by her husband, Joshua, her parents and two brothers.


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