Police say a USM employee was found dead in her cubicle in Luther Bonney Hall at around midnight on Monday, Jan. 4 by a custodian on their evening rounds.

Ann Brushwein, 59 of Portland, was a software support specialist for Computing Services. She had worked at USM since 1999.

Her brother, Carlton Gardner of Greene, said Brushwein died of a cardiac arrest.

Cpt. Ted Ross of the Portland Police Department said Brushwein had underlying medical conditions that most likely contributed to her death. He would not disclose the nature of her health problems. Police are awaiting test results from the Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta.

A representative from the Medical Examiner’s office said Brushwein’s cause of death may not be established for four to five months due to an “extremely large caseload.”

The custodian called the Portland Police after finding Brushwein lying face down on the floor of her work area near her desk, said Ross.

“The Medical Examiner is always contacted with unattended deaths,” he said.

Brushwein had logged off of her computer at around 5:30 p.m. the night she died, said Bob Caswell, USM spokesman. “She apparently was alone in the office,” he said.

Stephen Houser, executive director of computing services, said Brushwein was active in the community and regularly worked with local domestic violence groups. She had been a regular volunteer at the Ingraham Crisis Center, as a women’s abuse crisis counselor for the Portland Police Department.

“She was a really good worker. She really contributed,” he said. “We’re going to miss the work and the attitude and the happiness she brought.”

Brushwein was born in Philadelphia and attended high school in Lewiston, Maine. She graduated Cum Laude from USM in 1998 with a degree in Psychology.

“Ann was a very caring person. She was very family-oriented,” said Gardner. “That was obvious from the funeral from all the people at USM that showed up to pay their respects.”


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