Frieda Eleanora Pauline Lundberg, 103
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PORTLAND - Frieda Eleanora Pauline Lundberg, 103, passed away on Feb. 7, 2013 after a long and full life.
She was born on a Tuesday, April 7, 1909 in a 2-room cabin in Lexington, Mass., 'just as the sun was going down'. Frieda was born to Swedish parents, Adolf and Johannah Johnson Lundberg. She is one of seven children and the last remaining child born to Adolf and Johannah. Frieda was born to a loving family including two older brothers, whom she adored, and four loving sisters. They kept in close touch throughout the years.
Frieda was very artistic even as a child and was always sketching on whatever paper that was available. In 1924, Frieda started high school and was also awarded a four-year scholarship to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Sadly, also in 1924, Frieda's mother Johannah died and Frieda lived in a boarding house near Brighton High School and the Art Institute until she graduated in 1928. Frieda recalls earning $2.00 per week for her room and board. Following graduation, Frieda moved in with her sister, Elsie, in New York. In New York, she met and fell in love with Ron Ferguson. They were married on Nov. 26, 1929. The market crashed in 1929 and jobs were scarce in New York so Ron and Frieda along with her sister, Elsie, took a freighter and headed for California.
Frieda gave birth to her son, Ronald Fay Ferguson on May 9, 1932 in Los Angeles, Calif. Frieda and Ronald Ferguson were divorced in 1936 and Frieda returned to New York, along with Elsie both still looking for that right career.
Frieda continued her love for art and painting beautiful watercolors, but she never really used her talents until she and Elsie started their own business in 1943 making papier-mache model heads for displaying ladies hats and jewelry. Her products could be seen in fashionable stores in New York, across the country and in Cape town and Oslo. Her trademark, 'Thornwood Studio' became known in the industry. In 1945, she moved the business from Thornwood, N.Y. to West Buxton, into a 22-room, three-story house with a huge attached barn which was used for the business.
Luckily, Frieda came from a large family and many of her siblings came with her to help her run the business of making mannequins. She also employed 15 townspeople. Many of them hadn't had a job in years and they were delighted. 'It was a great time for all of us'. Their
business attracted quite a bit of attention and was featured in local newspapers. The business came to an end in 1950 when papier-mache was replaced by plastics.
During the following years, Frieda lived in Marathon, Fla. where she married Leonard Toner, a retired Lieut. Commander of the Coast Guard in Marathon, Fla. This ended in divorce.
1955 was a sad time for Frieda. Her son, Ronnie Ferguson was a jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force and was killed on Oct. 1, 1955. The jet plane he was flying on a routine flight had a flame-out as it was coming in for a landing and crashed just outside of Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill. Frieda lived in several places in New York and Florida, but one of her favorite homes was at Tiger Tail in Douglas Hill, where she was a happy hostess and where her brother, Oscar and sisters Elsie and Alma lived close by. From there, Frieda returned to Marathon and the beautiful scenery for her watercolors. When Frieda returned to Maine, she lived at Deering Pavilion and 75 State Street, and finally Barron Center in Portland. She never tired of painting her beautiful watercolors and oils which won her many awards and much recognition in the community. In the spring of 2007, Frieda was honored to be chosen a 'Remember Me' recipient and invited to the State House in Augusta and presented an Achievement Award by the Governor for her contribution to the Arts. Niece, Cindy Fry bought her a beautiful dress for the occasion. She said she felt like a Queen.
In addition to her famous mannequins, one of which appeared on EBay recently, she painted numerous watercolors, oils and she built architectural scale models of the Campuses at Westbrook Junior College and Bridgeton Academy for Girls. She also wrote poetry.
On April 7, 2009, Frieda celebrated her 100th birthday with all her nephews, nieces and friends at 75 State Street.
Frieda was raised by a loving and caring mother who took her to church and Sunday School. Later in life, as a result of an I FOUND IT campaign message, she acknowledged faith in Jesus. Now she looks forward to going 'Home' to Heaven for eternity. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A graveside service will be announced and held in the spring at South Buxton (Tory Hill) Cemetery. Arrangements are with Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home - Buxton. www.DCPate.com.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 10, 2013
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