Mary E. Martin, 86
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PORTLAND -- Mary Elizabeth Martin died July 12, 2013 at home in Harpswell. She was born in Framingham, Mass. on June 7, 1927, the daughter of Lillian Thurston and her first husband. Lillian took Mary and her younger brother John to Presque Isle to live with grandmother Lena Thurston while Lillian moved to Portland to look for work during the Great Depression. After finding a job as a tailor at Marcus Bothers, Lillian collected her children when Mary and John were in their early teens and moved them to Portland to be with her. Although John couldn't acclimate to city life and returned to Presque Isle, Mary thrived.
Mary married Bradford N. Martin on July 14, 1947, and together they raised six children. Mary worked steadily during her children's youth while Brad was at sea with the Merchant Marine and later when he was a firefighter for the City of Portland. Among other positions, she worked for a number of years in the Meat Department at the old Federal Market where she formed life-long friendships.
Brad and Mary lived in one half of a duplex at the corner of Franklin and Lancaster Streets in Portland. Brad's brother Wayne and his late wife, Beverly, lived in the other side of the duplex with their five children. Because of the closeness of the two families, both physically and emotionally, Mary was often the second mother figure for the five cousins, as well as mother of her own six, fixing meals and caring for all eleven. Over the years at different times, she provided a home for various nieces and nephews, at least one former spouse of a divorced child, and others who needed a temporary home and a mother's undiscriminating love. Once you were part of Mary's family, you were always her child.
Mary's children and her nieces and nephews called or visited with her almost daily for advice and counsel, or just plain friendship. Mary loved babies and never let a grandchild's or great-grandchild's birthday go by without attending with an armful of presents, many of which she knitted or crocheted herself.
She was a caring person and was involved in her family's lives as Momma, Aunt Mary, Grammie or Great-Grammie and enjoyed a close relationship with all of
Mary Elizabeth Martin
Jones, Rich & Hutchins
Funeral Home & Cremation Service
them. Most remarkable about Mary was her ability to provide love, support, and advice to anyone who needed and wanted it. Her approach was non-judgmental, gentle and caring.
As she aged, there never seemed to be a time when she was out and about that one of her many extended family members didn't stop her to tell her how much her support had meant to them. Her generosity, tolerance, and open heart influenced many peoples' lives positively.
She provided in-home care for her mother in the latter's last years. Among Mary's many other accomplishments, she was a breast cancer survivor of over 30 years. She was rarely idle and almost constantly had a knitting or crochet project in her lap; whether it was a gift or something she would sell at a craft show or church bazaar. Mary gave the money from these sales to St. Jude's and Ronald McDonald House. Many of her baby quilts, sweaters, and hats she sent to Ronald McDonald House or Maine Medical Center. She was a special lady.
Mary was predeceased by her mother and stepfather, Franklin McCormick. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, her brother John Clifford; her two daughters, Cynthia McDougall (and husband Warner Price) with whom she resided at the time of her death, and Cathleen Larsen (and husband Peter) and her four sons, Bradford Neal Martin II (and wife Laura), Brian Martin (and wife Heidi), Blane Martin (and wife Madora), and Blair Martin (and partner Patti MacDougall); by 21 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and many more nieces, nephews; and great-nieces and great-nephews.
There is no time of visitation scheduled. A celebration of Mary's life for friends and family will be held at the American Legion Post 197, Route 25, Westbrook on July 27, 2013 from 11:00 until 3:00,. Arrangements are under the direction of Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home 199 Woodford St. Portland, Maine. On-Line condolences can be given to the family at www.jonesrichandhutchins.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family
suggests donations in Mary's memory to St. Jude's or
Ronald McDonald House
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on July 16, 2013