In Loving Memory of Estelita Saldanha

HARPSWELL – Dr. Estelita L. Saldanha, 97, of Harpswell, passed away peacefully on March 22, 2019, at home, surrounded by his family. Estelita (East) was born in the Portuguese colony of Goa, India to the late Vitorino and Maria Saldanha. The youngest of seven children, he was predeceased by siblings Jerónimo, Hipolito, Estefania, Julia, Alberto, and Ursula. He was the beloved husband of 62 years to Louise Angela Ridley Saldanha, of Bath, England (d. 2013) and loving father to their son Charles (d. 2012).

Estelita was a professor of psychology, who began his career at the age of 17 teaching English at the local Lyceum. He was educated at the historic Rachol Seminary in South Goa; St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai; the University of Lisbon (B.A., 1943); the University of Nebraska (B.S., 1946, M.A., 1947); and Cornell University (Ph.D., 1950), where his dissertation focused on relational learning. He served as an assistant professor at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin (1950-1954); researcher at the Medical Research Council, Cambridge University, U.K. (1954-1957); associate professor at Wells College in Aurora, New York (1957-1966); and full professor at the University of Southern Maine, Portland (1966-1985), from which he retired professor emeritus while continuing to teach part-time into the 1990s. Estelita specialized in behavioral and educational psychology. Renowned for the narrative clarity and liveliness of his lectures, he frequently spoke from memory, while consistently incorporating the latest research. He was an editorial reviewer for numerous psychology textbooks and a contributor of research papers to the Acoustical Society of America.

Estelita came to the United States from Europe in 1945 at the age of 23 on a Liberty ship – part of Operation Magic Carpet – in the company of returning American troops; he became a U.S. citizen in 1964. He was an avid gardener, who enjoyed sharing his experience with family and neighbors. An interest in timbre cues and the identification of musical instruments informed his love of opera and classical music. Students, whose professional aspirations he helped to shape, appreciated an advisor who was generous and warm-spirited. Colleagues respected a departmental chairman who was loyal, independent-minded and steadfast in support of traditional liberal arts. Above all, he was devoted in retirement to the loving care of his ailing wife Louise, who predeceased him by six years.

Estelita is survived by his sons, Ashley and Guy, and daughter, Clarissa, of Harpswell; grandson Adrian of Montreal, Canada, granddaughter Kaitlynn of London, England, and a large family of nieces, nephews, grand and great-grand nieces and nephews across England, Canada, India and the United States.

A funeral mass will be held at St. John the Baptist Church – All Saints Parish, in Brunswick, Maine on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives. Brunswick.